The 36,000 asylum seekers currently living in Israel are overwhelmingly (92 per cent) from Eritrea and South Sudan. Their reasons for leaving their homes and their countries to seek asylum include ethnic and political persecution, forced labour, civil war and genocide. Between 5,000 and 7,000 of them are survivors of the torture camps in Sinai who carry the scars of captivity and torture.
To date, Israel has given refugee status to less than 1 per cent of asylum seekers. Out of more than 14,000 applications, Israel has accepted only ten asylum cases from Eritrea – and just one from Sudan over the past decade,. By comparison, the EU offered 87 per cent of Eritreans asylum in the last year. Although the Israeli government argues that it carefully processes requests for asylum, critics maintain that the claims are not considered properly.