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Eritrea is one of the most repressive countries on earth.  It is widely referred to as “the North Korea of Africa ” – due to the government’s enslavement, torture and murder of its own people.

Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans are voting with their feet and embarking on a perilous journey.

Despite the small population, the harsh conditions of life in Eritrea have turned it into one of the largest ‘exporters’ of refugees in the world. Thousands of Eritreans flee their country every month, in search of refuge and asylum. 

In desperation, they resort to deadly escape routes through deserts and neighboring war-torn countries and across dangerous seas in search of safety. They risk capture, torture and death at the hands of ruthless human traffickers.

 But often, as they flee, their problems are only beginning. They face torture and extortion at the hands of traffickers, pursuit by Eritrean agents who wish to capture, kill or extort them, disdain and imprisonment within countries of refuge, and deportation back to Eritrea



According to the figures from the PIBA (Population, Immigration and Border Authority) there are 28,285 asylum-seekers living in Israel. The vast majority are from Eritrea (21,690).

Unfortunately, even those who survived the difficult journey and managed to cross the border into Israel found no rest for themselves.

Israel's policy is to take a tough hand against asylum seekers. As part of this policy, the State of Israel does not recognize asylum seekers as refugees and refuses to grant them legal status.

Until the end of 2012, Israel did not allow asylum seekers to file individual asylum cases, thus denying them the possibility of ever receiving refugee status in Israel. although since Israel allowed them to file individual asylum cases, most of the applications submitted had not been examined, those who have been examined indicate that the percentage of recognition of asylum seekers as refugees is less than 1%, the lowest recognition rate of refugees in the Western world (while the average recognition of Eritrean asylum seekers as refugees in the rest of the world is higher than 85%).


Over the years, many laws have been enacted in Israel in order to make life difficult for asylum seekers in order to make them leave Israel.

Some of the laws are designed to exert heavy economic pressure on asylum seekers and those who employ them, with the idea that denying them the opportunity to earn a living will force them to leave Israel. Other laws enacted include the detention of asylum seekers in detention facilities set up specifically for them, and the operative expulsion of asylum seekers to various African countries.

Indeed, the Israel's policy bears fruit, many asylum seekers have left to various countries in Africa at real risk to their lives, others who remain in Israel are in an impossible economic situation.

Since May 2017, when the Deposit Law came into force, the economic situation of the asylum seekers became more serious. Evidence of this can be seen in the dramatic rise in the number of asylum seekers seeking food assistance, women forced to work in prostitution, reports of hunger and health deterioration, in the absence of an economic opportunity to seek medical treatment.

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