The Discourse and Attitude towards Foreigners in Israel

A project of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Shaharit Institute, in conjunction with the Institute for Immigration and Social Integration at the Ruppin Academic Center

The attitude toward non-Jewish migrants and asylum seekers is one of the most sensitive and explosive issues in Israel’s public and political space. The topic alternately surfaces and recedes from the center of public attention. After periods in which it seems to have been forgotten, it powerfully erupts again and touches upon the heart of the divisions that rend Israeli society. The public, political, and research discourse on the issue tends to be oppositional and fixed in a predetermined polarized pattern.

The members of the Migration and Asylum group include prominent professionals, activists, and scholars from civil society and academe, who represent a wide range of professional and ideological perspectives in the field of migration and asylum in Israel.

The aim of the group’s work is to create a new and practical discourse based on mutual understanding, listening, and respect, as an alternative to the sharp polarization that currently characterizes the field of migration and asylum. Such a discourse will make it possible to identify and clarify the points of commonality as well as the areas of disagreement. The guiding assumption is that the decisive majority of standpoints stem from legitimate grounds and meaning, and their understanding holds value for the common good. The diverse composition of the group’s members and the attempt to deeply clarify their various perspectives create the unique basis for the group’s activity in the field.