African Refugees Pose a Dilemma for Israel

Unwanted arrivals draw sympathy but also concern about their growing numbers in the Jewish state.

A refugee from Sudan stands near an Israeli flag during a demonstration supporting refugee aid.

A refugee from Sudan stands near an Israeli flag during a demonstration supporting refugee aid.

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Except for granting thousands of work permits, the Israeli government does not help the refugees. Instead, Israeli charities, churches, synagogues, legal and medical aid organizations, and the Tel Aviv municipality keep them afloat. Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Yael Dayan notes that some 250 refugee children attend city kindergartens and schools, while refugee mothers and their infants go to local maternity clinics. Says Dayan: "Israel can't on the one hand allow them to stay here but on the other hand leave them in the street."