July 12 2007 / 26 Tammuz 5767
Jewish Agency Provides Shelter to 58 Refugees from Sudan
Absorption Center near Sderot provides temporary housing for group of adults and children
The Jewish Agency for Israel is temporarily housing 58 refugees from Sudan, many of them apparently from the Darfur area, at the special request of the Prime Minister's Office. The group, which had crossed into Israel through the Sinai, arrived at the center early Monday morning (June 11) at the Jewish Agency Ibim Absorption center located near Sderot, where they are receiving housing, food and medical care.
Refugees from Sudan who make their way to Egypt try to cross into Israel along the Sinai border. This group, which includes 24 children, made their way by foot from Sinai across the border and then to Beersheva.
"This is a humanitarian gesture to people in distress," said Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski, explaining the Agency's role in providing the assistance.
Soni Zinger, the director of the Ibim Absorption Center, says that there has been a flood of donations by Israelis of clothes and toys as well as offers to help the refugees. In addition to services offered by Israel Ministry of Health to the refugees, the group was visited by Doctors without Borders, and all were reported in good condition despite days of walking. "The children are having a great time -- within a short time they were all playing on the grass," Zinger said, adding that absorption center counselors have regular daily activities for the children.
The group is expected to stay at the Jewish Agency center for about 10 days until the government of Israel determines the next steps. The Ibim Absorption Center generally serves Russian and Ethiopian student immigrants who are currently away on summer break.
"It's happy and sad," Zinger said, "Happy because they are here and being looked after and enjoying themselves; sad, because their future is uncertain."
Left: Molov Bahan, an Israeli Ethiopian
volunteer student (in green dress), at the
Jewish Agency's Absorption Center with
a Sudanese girl Center on Wednesday (July 11).
The Jewish Agency is providing temporary food,
housing and medical care to a group of
58 Sudanese refugees, 24 of them children.