Wilson, Ben R. African Asylum Seekers in Israeli Political Discourse and the Contestation over Zionist Ideology, MA Thesis, Temple University, 2015.
Since the time of their arrival beginning around 2005, there remain approximately 46,000 African asylum seekers in Israel. The following paper reviews the foundations and implications of Israel’s political discourse in reference to the presence of this community. I situate the treatment of the asylum seekers in their relationship to the Jewish State, Zionist ideology, international refugee law, and Israel’s human rights community. I argue: 1) that the discourse surrounding the asylum seekers reflects larger changes within the ethos of the Jewish State and models of Israeli personhood; 2) that notions of “security” and “threat” in relation to the asylum seekers take on new meanings shaped by Israel’s ongoing demographic concerns; and 3) that the political response to the African asylum seekers sheds light on irreconcilable goals of the Zionist nation-building project seeking to both maintain a Jewish majority and liberate world Jewry from life segregated and isolated in the Diaspora.