Systematic Discrimination Against Asylum Seekers
Yesterday, an article by Amir Alon reported that the rate of violent offences among African asylum seekers is three times higher than that of the general population. Of course, a review of the complete data reveals a different reality, which is inconsistent with the partial picture that the authors of the study from the Israeli Immigration Policy Center are trying to create.
According to the Institute's preliminary data, which promotes the expulsion of asylum seekers from the state, the extent of crime involving asylum seekers is constantly declining, but of course - this fact is not presented in the article. In 2014, asylum seekers were involved in 1,532 crimes against property, but last year the figure stood at 1061, a decline of about 30% in just three years. A similar situation exists with respect to other offenses: the number of sex offenses involving asylum seekers decreased from 93 in 2013 to 72 in 2017, and the number of public order offenses in which African asylum seekers were involved decreased from 518 in 2014 to 359 in 2017.
As someone who works with the community on a daily basis, we systematically see the different treatment of asylum seekers by state institutions. In an article published last year by John Brown in Haaretz.com, Haaretz found that only 11% of foreigners arrested by the police are ultimately convicted, in contrast to 44% of Israeli citizens. In light of this, the figures presented in Ynet's article on the number of files of the asylum community are simply meaningless. The vast majority of asylum seekers who are arrested are released without charge, and the files are closed. If the number of files indicated something, is the State’s attitude towards the community of asylum seekers from Africa.
All of this is in addition to presenting additional partial information from which the research suffers, which the article also does not mention. Members of the Institute write that most of the asylum seekers are "young men of low socioeconomic status, so it is clear that their rate of participation in crime will be higher than their proportion in the general population, which is composed of a normal demographic and various deciles."
It is clear to all of us what discrimination means to a certain group only because of color and language, and how it affects weak communities in the first place. It is also possible to think of different groups of Israelis and Jews of a slightly less bright color who suffered in the past and who, unfortunately, still suffer from such a furious attitude today. The situation of asylum seekers in Israel is no different from theirs. Therefore, attention must be paid to the attitude of the state institutions to the same groups, and not vice versa!
It is a pity that the Israeli public discourse is dominated by partial and populist data, which take things out of context and twist them to fit the view that black is a criminal. We call upon the Israeli public to frustrate the broad picture, and to work together by strengthening the community rather than by persecuting it. A legal option must be given to asylum seekers to integrate into the Israeli labor market, without a deposit law, without the pursuit of the state and without any other restrictions that further worsen their situation.