Accepting Refugees From Ukraine: Government’s Plan Illegal and Immoral

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>> Click here to read the full position paper by Dr. Tally Kritzman-Amir

Zulat submitted this position paper to the Knesset Interior Committee ahead of a special discussion on the government’s policy with regard to refugees from Ukraine. We believe that the latest plan published by the government, titled “Policy for Entry Into Israel of Foreign Nationals Fleeing the War in Ukraine,” is illegal and immoral. The plan violates the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention to which Israel is a signatory and fails to address many important issues. Our position consists of seven points:

1. Israel has an obligation to accept asylum seekers from Ukraine without setting any quota limits.

2. Refrain from posing bureaucratic obstacles to Ukrainians seeking to come to Israel and do not not require them to obtain prior approval for entering the country.

3. Refrain from sending refugees back to Ukraine before the situation there stabilizes.

4. Treat refugees with sensitivity, and be particularly attentive to questions of gender, age, health, and disability.

5. Refrain from placing refugees in detention.

6. Allow refugees to secure a dignified living during their stay in Israel.

7. Stop giving priority to refugees with relatives in Israel.

With regard to clause 4, it should be noted that most of the asylum seekers are women and children. Make sure that they have not been assaulted or exploited on their way here (e.g., sexual assault and exploitation, domestic violence, etc.), provide any necessary treatment according to what is customary in Israel, and allow them to keep in touch with other women, etc. To the extent possible, assign women in charge of their dealings with the authorities.

Children should be treated in accordance with Israel’s commitment under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with the best interest of the child as the leading principle. Questions of deportation – or allowing them to stay in Israel – should be guided by this principle. In addition, children should be given access to age-appropriate educational and physical activities, familiar food, suitable developmental and preventive medical care (e.g., immunization, treatment of developmental problems, etc.), as well as emotional support if necessary. Unaccompanied minors should be cared for by the welfare authorities and should be placed under suitable custody (foster care or adoption, as need be). To the extent possible, avoid outside-the-home arrangements for toddlers in order to provide them with the optimal living conditions and ensure they remain attached to the adults. Unaccompanied minors must be assigned a guardian to deal with any legal representation and proceedings. Disabled persons should receive appropriate care, to the extent possible within the community, to ensure they enjoy maximum access to all areas of life.

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Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi

 

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.

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Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.

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Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.

 

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Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.