According to a Monday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the petitioners claimed that they were persecuted by the authorities on religious, political, racial or national grounds; or that their lives were in mortal danger in Israel.
Over the past three years alone 40 petitions have been granted. According to the report, there was a 46% drop in petitions in 2011 compared to 2010 – 26 petitions were filed and 13 were approved.
Foreign nationals can petition for asylum only once they are on US soil. Should the US courts find merit to the petition it is approved and authorities grant the petitioner refugee status.
Official USCIS records make no differentiation of asylum seekers' ethnicity or their reasons for seeking asylum.
Immigration Law specialist Attorney Perry Novotny, however, said that it is likely that most petitioners in these cases are Israeli Arabs, former USSR immigrants and radical haredim, who claim persecution.
In many cases of Israeli Arabs, the reason may be the threat of "honor killings" or blood feuds.
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