Louis and Rachel Lesk Memorial Fund in Israel Studies
"Getting Their Act Together: The Formation of an Asylum-Seeking Community in Israel"
Since its creation in 1948 Israel has always been a safe haven for Jews wishing to immigrate to its territory. Over the years, the country has grown and evolved to become a home for Jews wishing to move there for a host of reasons and Israel's migration policy was nearly unchanged and unchallenged. In the 1990s guest workers were brought to the country to support labor shortages and in the early 2000s non-Jewish asylum seekers arrived at its southern border seeking protection. Faced with this global migration phenomena, Israel tries to balance its commitment to the integrity of a Jewish-democratic state while honoring international legal obligations concerning the protection of asylum seekers. This talk will feature a firsthand account by Noureldin (Nouri) Musa, a community organizer from Darfur who lived in Israel for 13 years as an asylum seeker. During his time there he was involved in the community's mobilization for rights and recognition as well as efforts to address daily and immediate needs. As the campaign evolved, he used theater and other collective action tactics to communicate with Israeli society. Musa will be joined by Dr. Oded Oron, whose dissertation focused on community organizing of asylum seekers communities in Israel during this time-frame.
Noureldin (Nouri) Musa grew up in Darfur, Sudan and fled his home country in 1999 during the civil war in the country. After living in Libya temporarily, Nouri arrived in Israel in search of asylum in May 2005, crossing from the Sinai desert in Egypt. He worked in a pastry kitchen in one of the hotels in the Dead Sea and served as a community organizer for other asylum seekers who arrived in the country under similar circumstances. As part of the escalation against the asylum seekers community in Israel, he was sent to the Holot Detention Center in 2014. While in detention, he joined a theater group facilitated by Dr. Chen Alon, whose purpose was to mediate the story of the asylum seekers to Israeli society and use art to reflect about their personal struggle and mobilization efforts to be recognized as refugees. Since 2018 Nouri has been living in Canada with his wife, also a refugee from Darfur, and their two daughters, who were born in Canada.
Dr. Oded Oron (University of Toronto) is an educator, community organizer, and migration expert. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in International Studies with a focus on forced migration. Oded grew up in Israel and worked for 7 years in leading news outlets (YNET, Haaretz) as well as the press unit in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office. He previously worked as the Assistant Director of Cornell Hillel, where among his responsibilities, he led immersive educational trips to Israel and the Palestinian Authority for groups of campus student leaders. He currently works as the Manager of Data, Research, and Evaluations at JIAS Toronto - a Jewish non-profit serving newcomers of all backgrounds and supporting their integration in Canada. He is also an Assistant Professor at U of T teaching classes in Political Science and Jewish Studies.
This lecture will be delivered on Zoom. To attend, please click THIS LINK at 4pm on Monday, March 14th, 2022.