Amos fled from Sudan four years ago, taking with him only his wife and two children. In the four years they have spent in Israel since then, his wife has given birth to another child.
But on Tuesday, Amos's wife and children boarded a flight to Sudan, seeking a better fate. With them were another 46 boys and girls, whose return to Sudan is steeped in fear due to the language they now speak – Hebrew.
Amos remains in the country to continue a daily battle with the state, fueled only by his minimum-wage job and desire to see his family home safe.
"I know this can be dangerous to my wife and children, but I prefer my kids to be in their own country and not starve to death or be thrown out on the street in Israel. They agreed with me and realized there is a chance they can make it in Sudan," Amos told Ynet in a special interview after the deportation flight left, effectively breaking up a number of families.
Amos said he had exhausted all other options before putting his family on the plane – he had looked for more work and been active in the community, but to no avail.
At the airport (Photo: Reuters)
"I earn NIS 3,000 ($835) a month. Who can support five people on that?" he said. "The government in Israel does not help, though it knows that we are refugees who escaped danger. I left my country in order to save my family, but it is still preferable to die in our land than to live like this here. Life here is more difficult."
Amos's family is just one in a long list of deportations. "Israel doesn't want to defend us but rather to deport us, and I prefer to die in my own land," he said.
'Children at risk'
At the Levinsky Park library, a multicultural library for foreign workers, the children up for deportation began to tell volunteers of the plan a few days ago. Dr. Rami Gudovitch, who runs the youth program there, heard the rumors with despondency.
Budovitch doubts that the Immigration Authority is being entirely truthful in saying that only migrants who expressed a desire to board the flight did so.
"I don't doubt that there are people interested in returning to in order to participate in the battle for the independence of southern Sudan, but why were only children and mothers present on the flight, without fathers? Couldn't they have waited a little until the situation becomes less dangerous for the kids?" he asked.
Aid organizations were kept in the dark, and now many fear that many of the children, who were raised in Israel and speak Hebrew, will be at risk in Sudan.
"Their parents were mostly at work and the children spoke Hebrew amongst themselves. In Sudan this is immediate danger. The parents received instructions never to say that they lived in Israel, but the children are far less aware and they will endanger themselves," says Orit Rubin, from the Assaf organization.
"It's absurd because people say they are not refugees. A large part of the Israeli public believes it is legitimate to make their stay here difficult and this is a terrible thing. These are people who requested asylum but were received as though they had come here to work illegally."
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