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Israel High Court Decision Upholds Refugee Rights

Sep 23, 2014

Blog Post

Mark Hetfield - President and CEO

As we prepare to celebrate the most holy time of the Jewish year, we are proud that Israel’s highest court has upheld the fundamental right of persecuted people to seek and be granted safe haven.

The Israeli Supreme Court’s decision on Monday night to close the Holot detention center within 90 days and its rejection of the government’s policy of holding newly arriving asylum seekers in detention for a year is the outcome we have been waiting for, and one that we knew must come. It’s proof that Israel's system of checks and balances will uphold human rights and the rule of law.

The High Court ruled that it is a violation of human rights and the basic laws of Israel for the government to use detention as a tool to pressure asylum seekers into returning to countries where they would face persecution.

In light of the last two High Court decisions upholding the human rights of asylum seekers, Israeli leaders have a lot to reflect on during the Days of Awe. Even the most democratic countries struggle with refugee protection but Israel has the opportunity to implement a comprehensive, humane, and efficient asylum system.

We hope that this reflection will result in a concerted effort to fulfill the Jewish values of justice and fairness, and the call to welcome the stranger.