Forty-nine African Hebrews Israelites from the southern Israeli town of Dimona got a reprieve on Monday, October 11, from what was to have been their immediate deportation to the United States when a Be’er Sheva administrative appeals court issued a temporary stay on their expulsion from Israel.
Be’er Sheva’s Administrative Appeals Court issued on Monday, October 11, a temporary stay of expulsion from Israel of 49 members of the African Hebrew Israelite community residing in Dimona. (Screenshot)
The court order came in response to an appeal filed last week by the group, members of whom are seeking to establish legal residence in the country. Judge Michael Zilberschmidt also gave the Population and Immigration Authority a week to state its position on the suspension of the deportation process. On Sunday, immigration police started searching for the designated deportees in the desert city of Be’er Sheva.
Within those seven days, the state can try to convince the court not to hear an appeal against the deportation that has been submitted on behalf of the deportees. If the deliberation of the appeal does go ahead, the injunction will remain in place until the judge decides the case.
“We live in existential fear,” Yair Israel, member of the Black Hebrew Israelite community, told Israel’s military radio station. “The state is hounding us for nothing.” “We have lived here for over 50 years, representing the country and building it together. All of a sudden we’re receiving deportation letters,” the Black Hebrew spokesman added. The 3,000-strong community, which believes it is descended from an ancient Israelite tribe, began arriving in Israel in 1969, following the founder of the group, the late Ben Carter, a Chicago steelworker who renamed himself Ben Ammi Ben-Israel.
Related: Interior Ministry Orders 49 Black Hebrews to Leave the Country