Israel's No-Asylum Policy: The Increased Vulnerability of African Refugee Women


In this installment of the UCLA Nazarian Center's "Women on the Margins in Israel" lecture series, Dr. Shani Bar Tuvia will explore the unique influence that Israel's restrictive policy towards asylum seekers has on women, most of them from Eritrea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Pacific Time)

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Note: This live event will be recorded and posted online afterward for later viewing on the Y&S Nazarian Center's multimedia page.

This event is organized by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration and the UCLA African Studies Center.

About the Talk

This talk will explore the unique influence that Israel's restrictive policy towards asylum seekers has on women, most of them from Eritrea. It will outline the gendered circumstances of their escape, namely the realities of women in Eritrea and the gender-related traumas many of them suffered there and during their journeys. Then it will shortly describe Israel's policy towards asylum seekers during the past 15 years—refraining from deportation yet preventing integration—and will highlight two main arguments. First, Israel's policy stands out as particularly restrictive, despite a clear exclusionary trend shared by all Western countries. Second, its policy uniquely harms women. Finally, it will analyze the consequences of this intersection of gendered past traumas and current institutional violence, including labor exploitation, poverty, mental and physical hardships, and parenting difficulties.


 About the Speakers

Dr. Shani Bar Tuvia is managing the policy advocacy of the Israeli Refugee Rights Forum, composed of 6 Human Rights Organizations: ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel), The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Worker’s Hotline (Kav Laoved), ARDC and Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

 Shani holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies and MA in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her dissertation research, which she conducted in conjunction with Freie Universität Berlin, dealt with asylum policies of so-called Western countries with a focus on Israel. She also taught an undergraduate course on this topic at the Hebrew University and volunteered for five years at the Jerusalem African Community Center. 



Dr. Tamar Hofnung (moderator) is a political sociologist specializing in the politics shaping gender and racial equality policies in Israel and the United States. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science with a specialization in Human Rights from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has conducted her postdoctoral studies as a Rothschild fellow at UC Berkeley’s Department of Sociology. She is currently a teaching and research fellow at the Y&S Nazarian center for Israel studies, working on affirmative action, and violence against women policies in Israel and the United States. Her most current research project examines the impact of unsystematic data gathering — and the lack of evaluation guidelines — on policymaking related to diversity and discrimination in Israel.




DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.


Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Center for Study of International Migration, African Studies Center