In Israel, African migrants under attack

We look at the rising tensions between citizens and asylum seekers.


  1. Two molotov attacks within two weeks have raised tensions between Israeli residents and African migrants in south Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv Mayor, Ron Huldai has called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take action "before it is too late" 

    On May 6, two firebombs hit a residence in south Tel Aviv that is home to African asylum seekers. Less than two weeks earlier, a number of molotov cocktails were launched into four homes and one kindergarten in Israel's refugee community of Shapira.  Tensions have grown in recent months between Israelis and African asylum seekers from countries such as Eritrea and Sudan.
  2. A woman stares at the debris after the dwelling suffered damages from the attacks on April 27 at 2:30 a.m. On Tuesday, two firebombs hit another African asylum seekers' residence in south Tel Aviv. This was the second incident that occurred within the past two weeks.
  3. A forensic investigator snaps a photo of three molotov cocktails lined up against the wall after the attacks occurred. Police arrested a 20-year-old from south Tel Aviv in connection with the first set of attacks.
  4. The following table shows the numbers and percentages of where the majority of migrants into Israel come from. Eritrea leads, followed closely by Sudan. Other asylum-seeking groups come from: Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  5. In January, the Knesset passed the Anti-Infiltration bill under Netanyahu that cracks down on asylum seekers. The new law allows Israel to detain these refugees for longer periods of time without a trial. Amnesty Israel argues asylum seekers should not be treated as criminals.
  6. Here, the Ktzi'ot Prison in the Negev desert will serve as the world's largest holding facility for asylum seekers and migrants coming into the country under the new Anti-Infiltration bill. It will be able to hold up to 11,000 people. Since 1949, Israel recognised only 170 people seeking asylum. Around 7,000 refugees have crossed Israel's southern border since the beginning of 2012.
  7. This 2012 graph shows the number of African immigrants into Israel in relation to the year. In south Tel Aviv, there are nearly  50,000 African migrants are seeking asylum.
  8. Many are asking whether this is an issue of racism. This video shows an experiment where Israelis are asked to sign a faux petition to stop the deportation of refugees. The video shows that European refugees gain more Israeli sympathy than the subject of stopping the deportation of African migrants. 
  9. In this video Ben Ari, a Knesset member, calls for the exile of Sudanese people out of Israel. Other activists shown in the video demand justice for the African refugees seeking asylum in the country. Tel Aviv Mayor, Ron Huldai, warned Netanyahu that residents will turn to crime if government is unwilling to tackle the issue of African migrants.
  10. Anti-African Rally in Tel Aviv
  11. Violence has increased as tensions rise between the Israeli citizens and African immigrants. Some Israelis who fear the backlash of violence from the African migrants, including state-employed Rabbis, are fighting to prohibit realtors to rent to them. 
  12. This is the 1948 Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The highlighted segment states the intention for equality in Israel. 
  13. This documentary by filmmaker David Sheen looks at how racism in Israel against African migrants is rooted in the fear of demographic threats.
  14. Racism Report: Africans in Israel