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HIAS Applauds the End of Israel's Deposit Law

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TEL AVIV — On April 23, the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the country’s Deposit Law, which withheld 20 percent of asylum seekers’ salaries as an incentive for them to leave the country.
 
HIAS applauds the Supreme Court’s decision, which will give asylum seekers and their families badly needed financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic. HIAS Israel and the clinic for migrant rights at the College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, representing 11 Israeli NGOs that protect women’s and children’s rights, filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case arguing that the Deposit Law has caused severe damage.
 
“The court has ruled in favor of democracy, morality, and Jewish values — values for which HIAS and its partners stand,” said Sivan Carmel, HIAS’ country director in Israel. “We are grateful that this wrong against asylum seekers has been righted.”
 
Asylum seekers’ lives have become even more precarious since the Deposit Law was enacted. As Justice Yitzhak Amit wrote in the Supreme Court’s ruling, the “decrease in salary has caused, among other things, a cut in purchasing food and medicine, a halt of health insurance payments, relocation to shared, congested apartments, leaving children unattended or in ‘children warehouses’ for longer hours in order to work more hours, or take an additional job in order to supplement for lost income.” Now that this offensive and unnecessary law has finally been laid to rest, a heavy burden will be lifted from the shoulders of refugees.
 
However, as the Supreme Court noted, there has been no change in the status of asylum requests, which the Israeli government continues to ignore. We hope that the new unity government will embrace a fair policy toward asylum seekers and, at the very least, review their claims to be recognized as refugees.

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