A Forgotten Persecution

The plight of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel has been identified by the Barnabas Fund. It’s a story that needs to be told.

Holot was originally built in 2014 for Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, but now mainly houses Eritreans. Behind the wire and searchlights are over 3,000 men, 95% of whom are Christians. Women, children and the elderly Eritreans are not detained: most eke out a living doing menial work in Israeli cities, sometimes assisted by aid organisations such as the Eritrean Women’s Community Centre (EWCC) in Tel Aviv, which is funded by Barnabas Fund. 1

The majority of Eritreans fled their home country because of either religious persecution or conscription: military service is indefinite and can last years, even decades. About 36,000 Eritrean asylum seekers currently live in Israel, but are not recognised as refugees. They are unable to access education, employment, healthcare and social services. The estimated 7,000 Eritrean women are particularly isolated.

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