30.06.22, Bar Peleg, Haaretz
Asylum seekers will be barred from most employment opportunities in cities heavily populated by refugees according to new regulations issued by Israel’s Interior Ministry on Thursday.
Under the new regulations, asylum seekers who received group protection from deportation will be limited to working in construction, agriculture, institutional caregiving, hotels or restaurants in the listed cities starting in October. The restrictions won’t apply to minors, parents of minors studying in Israeli schools or those over 60.
Precedence for this policy dates back to 2015, when then-Interior Minister Silvan Shalom decided to bar the asylum seekers newly released from the Holot open detention facility (which was later shut down) from working in Tel Aviv and Eilat. Later, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Netanya, Ashdod and Jerusalem were added to the list.
This past October, Justices Daphne Barak-Erez, Isaac Amit and Alex Stein upheld the policy, which now covers all asylum seekers in Israel under the new regulations.
Dr. Ayelet Oz, executive director of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, said it was “regrettable” that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, “in the final months of her tenure, chose to use the discretion the Supreme Court gave her to restrict asylum seekers’ employment to the toughest, most poorly paid jobs in Israel’s labor market. After more than a decade of ongoing injustice toward asylum seekers by the state, Minister Shaked is adding insult to injury by limiting their dreams and aspirations and restricting them by law to being Israel’s hewers of wood and drawers of water.”
Kav LaOved, a labor rights organization that assists asylum seekers, accused the immigration agency of a political move “on the eve of an election.” “After a decade in which it avoided reviewing their asylum requests and dealing harsh blows to them… the authority is now aiming for a wave of layoffs in central cities,” the group said in a statement.
The cities in which asylum seekers will no longer be able to work include Tel Aviv, Eilat, Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Or Yehuda, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Herzliya, Holon, Kiryat Ono, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Azor, Kfar Shmaryahu, Netanya, Ashdod and Petah Tikva. Most of those cities are in the greater Tel Aviv area.