As about 40,000 African asylum facing deportation, Israeli Kibbutzim have launched a new initiative to reach out to migrants and provide them with a home and a place to work.

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The Israeli Supreme Court ordered this week to freeze the deportation of African asylum seekers from Israel, just a day after the Holot detention camp, which housed many illegal immigrants from Eritrea and Sudan, was shut down. The hundreds who had remained there were freed to an unknown fate, unable to live and work in Israel legally.

As a temporary solution, many Kibbutzim and moshavim – collective agricultural communities – have decided to take in asylum seekers and offer them a place to live and a job.

“We hope that, ultimately, there will be thousands of organizations and individuals who will do the same,” said Yoni Tsoran, the secretary of Kibbutz Sasa in the Upper Galilee. “If that happens, we will be able to pull a great mass of asylum seekers out of southern Tel Aviv. The condition there is terrible.”

In November, Israeli lawmakers proposed to shut down the Holot detention facility for asylum seekers, and instead to present them with two options only – deportation or prison.