Germantown Jewish Centre to discuss African refugee crisis in Israel

On June 3, the Germantown Jewish Centre will host a special program entitled “The Untold Story of a Journey to Freedom: The African Refugee Crisis in Israel and the Sinai” from 10-11 a.m.

The presentation will be conducted by Alexandra Mandel and Emma Giloth who are two American University graduates that devoted the past year to learning about the African refugee situation in Israel by leading a research and service trip to Tel Aviv for undergraduate and graduate students.

During the presentation, attendees will learn about the 50,000 African refugees that are living in Israel after being smuggled across the Sinai dessert in inhumane torturous situations. Because Israel has never developed a refugee policy for non-Jews, the Africans’ migration caused a range of political, social and humanitarian concerns.

Giloth and Mandel will discuss their findings from meetings with Knesset members, South Tel Aviv community leaders, Israeli humanitarian non-governmental organizations and the United States Embassy in Israel. A documentary made by a filmmaker on the trip will also be shown.

Elana Shaw, GJC’s program director, said it was important to highlight this issue not only to support Giloth who was raised at the synagogue, but to give Americans a new perspective about Israel by utilizing a new avenue.

“The typical news about Israel is about the Palestine-Israel Conflict,” said Shaw. “Just like immigration is a difficult topic in the U.S, it’s the same in Israel right now for the African refugees.”

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