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Professor Warns of Phony Darfur Refugees

Haifa U Professor Arnon Sofer warns that migrant workers are pretending to be Darfur refugees in order to gain entry into the State of Israel.
By Avi Yellin
First Publish: 1/24/2010, 10:53 PM / Last Update: 1/24/2010, 11:18 PM

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Professor Arnon Sofer, chaiman of Geo-Strategy at Haifa University and vice-chairman of its Center for National Security Studies, has claimed that many Africans seeking asylum in the Jewish state are pretending to be refugees from Darfur in order to gain entry into the State of Israel.

While acknowledging the need for Israel to aid refugees fleeing for their lives, Sofer maintains that Israel must take demographic factors into consideration and not allow itself to be taken advantage of.

Attorney Ofra Klinger, Director of the Population for Prison Services, the first body that comes into contact with the African immigrants, has supported Sofer’s claims, saying that out of 4,420 immigrants from Africa in 2008, only 23 of them actually maintained to be from Darfur and 702 refused to disclose their country of origin.

According to the IDF, the percentage of women among the Africans immigrating to Israel is 15 percent less than men, indicating that these immigrants are not coming with their families, which would most likely be the case with refugees fleeing persecution. Sofer uses these statistics to strengthen his argument by pointing out that typical behavior for migrant workers is to establish themselves financially and then later send for their families.

Sofer argues that the main reasons why the Africans come to Israel is because European countries have refused them entry. Additionally, many human rights groups in Israel have lobbied for Israel to provide shelter to the immigrants without properly investigating whether or not they are actually refugees. Professor Sofer ultimately fears that the influx of migrant workers will hurt the weaker sectors of Israel’s population and also the migrants themselves as they will be pushed towards society’s social margins.