Rally in Tel-Aviv against deportation of South Sudanese refugees

Hundreds of South Sudanese refugees and their Israeli supporters protested near the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on Saturday night under the banner “South Sudan is dangerous,” to ask for more time in Israel before returning to their country. They are due to be deported this month.

On January 31, the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority said that because South Sudanese now have their own country, and one that has friendly relations with Israel, they have until April 1 to leave Israel willingly or face deportation. Protesters said they were not looking to stay in Israel indefinitely, but that due to the unstable nature of life in the country founded last July, being sent back now would place their lives in danger.

The rally against deportation in Tel-Aviv (Photo: Activestills)

Members of the community and Israeli NGOs say there about 700 South Sudanese in Israel, while the Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority says the figure is around 3,000. In any case, they make up a small part of the more than 50,000 African asylum-seekers in Israel, the vast majority of whom are from Eritrea or Sudan.

Orit Marom of the refugee assistance organization ASAF said that the price of the cabinet decision to deport the South Sudanese “will be possible death, from war or famine, for many of those children who are here tonight.”