Rape suspect
Photo: Eli Senyor

Asylum-seeker: We're not criminals, we're refugees

African migrants afraid of going outside following anti-refugee protest in Tel Aviv. Refugee asks: 'If one person committed rape, should we all be punished?'

"Today was a really hard day since aside from going to work, we didn't leave our homes. We are afraid of the police and afraid of the Israelis, hatred is felt on the streets." This is how Salman, 32, a Sudanese asylum-seeker has described the situation in south Tel Aviv.


Salman, like many of his friends and acquaintances who live in the vicinity of Tel Aviv's central bus station, fears the vengeance likely to take a toll following the arrest of the Eritrean man suspected of raping an 83-year-old woman.


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Salman forbade his three children to leave their home for fear they will be attacked. According to him, "I didn't even go out to buy cigarettes." He is having difficulty understanding Israelis' fear. "If one person committed rape, should we all be punished? We are human beings, we have families and can't all be made out to be rapists. We are struggling to make a living, and fighting for our existence, we are not enemies of the State."


A refugee from Darfur, who infiltrated Israel two years ago said that "the situation is really difficult here, we hear people calling out 'we don't want the Sudanese' and we stay in our homes. The Israelis don't differentiate between us – to them, we are all black.


"I want to tell them that we are not criminals we are refugees who fled war. Just like in every place, there are people who commit crimes but most of my friends and I just want some peace and quiet."


"הישראלים לא מבדילים בינינו, בשבילם כולנו שחורים" (צילום: בני דויטש)

Refugees afraid to leave their homes (Photo: Benny Deutsch)


ההפגנה נגד הזרים בתל-אביב, אמש (צילום: בני דויטש)

Protests in south Tel Aviv (Photo: Benny Deutsch)


As a result of the horrifying rape of the elderly woman, an uproarious demonstration was held on Monday night in which dozens of south Tel Aviv's residents and right-wing activists demanded the deportation of the African migrants.


Just prior to the protest, aid organizations accompanied the refugees' children on their way home from their various activities.


Dr. Rami Godovich, an asylum-seeker advocate who assisted in the accompaniment of the children said that "the legislation allowing for arbitrary arrests of suspects without proof (according to estimations, the amendment to the law preventing infiltration resulted in the detention without trial of hundreds of refugees in the past months, based solely on suspicion), has caused members of this community to fear the police so much so that they don't even complain about crimes within their own community."



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פרסום ראשון: 01.01.13, 10:14
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