MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Several pilots from the Israeli airline El Al have announced that they will not transport African asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda and Uganda in line with the government’s mass deportation campaign, local media reported.
According to The Times of Israel newspaper, the country’s Aviation Authority has received over 7,500 requests from refugees asking pilots not to bring them to places where they would face deadly danger. One of the pilots, Iddo Elad, reportedly posted on his Facebook page that that he would not “fly refugees to their death.”
On Monday, dozens of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees protested in front of President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem over the forced deportations, and some 1,000 protesters gathered in the city of Herzlia, the newspaper added.
In December, the Israeli parliament passed an amendment to the “Prevention of Infiltration Act,” targeting refugees mainly from Sudan and Eritrea. The bill stipulates the closure of the country’s Holot detention facility and deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees from March.
Israel hosts nearly 38,000 African migrants, with over 70 percent coming from Eritrea and 20 percent from Sudan, the newspaper said, citing the Interior Ministry.