Israel: All Eritrean Disguised Ethiopian Immigrants to be Deported

Personal Interviews exposes Ethiopian immigrants claiming Eritrean
Personal Interviews exposes Ethiopian immigrants claiming Eritrean

By Ilan Lior,

The Interior Ministry is challenging asylum claims by Eritreans who, it says, are Ethiopian and thus eligible for deportation. A Central District Court judge has ruled in favor of the state in 18 out of 19 petitions against the ministry’s classification.

Eritrean citizens in Israel are granted collective ‘temporary protection‘ and are not deported to Eritrea. There are currently 36,067 ‘Eritreans’ in Israel, according to Border and Immigration Authority data. 

In recent months, the state has increased its efforts to expel Eritrean and Sudanese citizens. Most of the effort is focused on convincing migrants to sign controversial ‘consent‘ forms stating they agree to return. Another method is to classify Eritreans as Ethiopian, in spite of their insistence that they are Eritrean. Most African migrants do not have official documents, with the final citizenship determination being made by the Interior Ministry, based on a personal interview.

Last month, Judge Avraham Yaakov, Deputy President of the Central District Court, ruled in 19 petitions against the classifications of the Interior Ministry. Only in one case did the judge accept the petition and reverse the state’s classification. In four other cases, the judge determined that, while the state had not substantiated its classification of the petitioners as Ethiopian, the petitioners had not proved that they were Eritrean either. In the other 14 cases, Judge Yaakov accepted the state’s classification that the migrants were indeed Ethiopian and therefore not eligible for collective temporary protection.

The only petition accepted was that of a 23-year-old migrant who entered Israel in June 2011 and was detained in the Saharonim detention center for five months. Ministry officials determined she was Ethiopian on the basis of a number of interviews, arguing that she did not know details about her alleged village, did not present an official document, was inconsistent in her replies, could not give information about her spouse who was already in Israel and identified as Eritrean and knew almost nothing about Eritrea’s history.

Judge Yaakov rejected the state’s arguments, including the claim that she knew little of the village of Monoxito, where she said she lived, pointing to testimony that detailed the names of villages leading to Monoxito, including the location of certain villages where medical treatment was available. Regarding the state’s claim that she knew little of Eritrean history, the judge noted that she had on four years schooling.

Attorney Yadin Eilam, who represented the woman, said that “this story reflects the arbitrariness of the ministry official’s classifications. She was held for five months because officials decided she was Ethiopian without any real justification. From her interview, one can learn that its purpose was not to reveal the truth, but rather to prove, by all means possible, that she was not Eritrean. The courts have repeatedly instructed officials to be extremely cautious during such interviews, saying that it is often a matter of life and death. It’s about time the officials understood and conducted themselves according to these directives.”

In one of the four undecided cases, the judge said that the state claimed a migrant was Ethiopian without asking him any questions about Ethiopia.

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Israeli government’s preferential treatment for Eritrean migrants with its misguided immigration policy has come back to haunt itself. The flawed policy which granted collective ‘temporary protection’ to Eritrean migrants while holding Ethiopian and Sudanese migrants in indefinite detention and possible deportation has forced many of the Ethiopian migrants, especially from Tigray region, to falsely claim as “Eritrean” in a bid to secure asylum. You really can’t blame these Ethiopian migrants who make up the overwhelming majority of the migrants in Israel.

Prior to 2008, there were thousands of Ethiopian migrants living in Egypt disguised as Eritrean in order to secure asylum. Later that year, the Egyptian government decided to return “Eritrean” migrants back to their home country. In the process, those Ethiopian migrants who falsely claimed ‘Eritrean’ are also got deported to Asmara along with Eritreans.

Up on arrival, the Eritrean government declared 167 out of the total returnees as Ethiopians.  With the exception of one pregnant woman who required medical attention, the 166 Ethiopians who requested to be voluntarily repatriated to their country Ethiopia has been transported through the border under the care of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Embarrassed by the turn of events, the Ethiopian government later accused Egyptian authorities for forcefully deporting its citizens to Eritrea.

Israel shouldn’t repeat those silly mistakes.
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8 thoughts on “Israel: All Eritrean Disguised Ethiopian Immigrants to be Deported

  1. Yup. Also… there are so many Ethiopians in Canada (especially Calgary) claiming to be Eritrean. It's frustrating because they look nothing like Eritreans. Lmao.

  2. It must have been a very terrifying moment for the Tegaru immigrants who used to live off the Eritrean bread and now off their name and privilege. Israel should continue to skin off those Ethiopian tegaru and deport them back to where they belong.

    By the way, during the interview they should also need to ask the them to make a call to their families in Eritrea and you will see if those god forsaken tegaru's dare to make a single call.

    I am looking forward to read the first shipment of those Tegaru's to their country Ethiopia

    1. Habtsh that's a good idea . I know they used to ask for pictures of them sent from Eritrea with an Eritrean postage or landmark to prove their claim ( in Israel ).

  3. Its now become crystal clear that what has been reported by western media on the number of Eritrean refugees in Isreal and many other countries was grossly exaggerated and is part and parcel of the ongoing psychological warfare designed to instill a sense of hopelessness amongst the people and to give outsiders a misguided view of the country. Recalling that one paper in its recent issue reported there were over 54000 Eritrean refugees living in Isreal, of which most of whom turn out to be of other nationality. Imagine, if one is take all the reports on number of Eritrean refugees, including the ones published by UNHCR, in different parts of the world at face value, without exaggeration the sum of people who left the country would've exceeded that of the population. How is possible? If every country that is hosting Eritrean refugees was to do what the Israeli govt did and investigate the nationalities of all who claim as Eritreans, the results won't different. Because of the way Eritrea is portrait by the western media people who fled from other parts of Africa such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia find it very convenient to claim as Eritreans in order to be granted refugee status.

  4. l

    The news coming out of Isreal in regards to 'coercing' Eritrean and other African immigrantes to Uganda is truely disturbing. Not only that, she have passed a legistlation qoute….

    ''On Wednesday, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced that Israel signed an agreement with an African country, which he did not name, that will accept migrants who choose to leave the country voluntarily. The east African nation will shelter Eritrean migrants and act as a transit point for Sudanese people as they head back to their home country, the Interior Ministry said in a statement''

    1. ll

      what is more,

      ''The Knesset committee approved several new regulations aimed at preventing more illegal migration, restricting the amount of money African migrants can send out of the country and regulating the process for migrants to take their money and property with them when they leave. Migrants will be allowed to take the equivalent value of the Israeli minimum wage multiplied by the number of weeks they have been in the country, but no more than that, according to a Haaretz report''

      Dear comaptriots, let this be a warning to us all why it is important for all of us to invest in the security and weel being of our own country. As the saying goes, no matter how safe and secure we all might feel in our respective adopted countries wheather be it Europe or North America '' zey adika aye adikan eyu''

  5. UN concern that Israel plans to deport asylum-seekers to mystery African country
    Human-rights groups fear refugees could be forced to return to the very countries they fled
    The UN refugee agency and human-rights groups voiced concern today for the safety of thousands of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers that Israel says it intends to deport to an unnamed African country, saying the refugees could end up being returned to the very places from which they fled persecution and hardship.

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