Israelis claim refugee status in Canada

The Canadian citizenship and immigration department has refused an application for refugee status filed by an Israeli citizen.

The woman explained that she had been nearby several suicide bombings in Israel and will be “murdered” by Palestinian terrorist organizations if she returns to Israel.

The department defended its decision, explaining that the woman was not the [sic] victim of terrorism based on her ethnic identity, religion, nationality or political views, and the fact that she witnessed the bombings stems from the fact that she lives in a country where bombings are not uncommon. — YNet

Not that I think Israelis need to seek asylum in other countries, but the “not uncommon” bombings do have something to do with ethnic identity or religion.

But sometimes Canada does grant refugee status to Israelis:

Figures released to The CJN last week show that in 2005, Canada accepted 151 Israeli citizens who successfully argued they had a “well-founded fear of persecution” should they be returned to Israel.

The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) finalized 491 cases from Israel, rejecting 269 claims. The rest were either abandoned or withdrawn.

The IRB does not track the reasons, whether political, religious or personal, for granting asylum. Neither does it keep records of the birthplace of claimants.

But Israel has long maintained that for the most part, they are Jews who left former Soviet republics and came to Israel under the Law of Return, which grants them immediate citizenship.

Many stayed a few years and then decided to springboard to other countries as Israel citizens.

Typically, the asylum-seekers allege that while in the Jewish state, they were denied jobs and housing, threatened, ostracized and harassed because of mixed marriages or questionable status as Jews. — Ron Csillag, CJN

Are these legitimate refugees or are they interested in the various economic benefits available to refugees in Canada? The Israeli embassy in Ottawa thinks the latter:

“Israel is a democracy that regards successful immigrants’ absorption as a prime value. It is unfortunate that some Israeli citizens who were seeking to immigrate to Canada have opted for submitting bogus claims for asylum here, thus deliberately misleading Canadian immigration authorities about their past in Israel and personal background,” embassy spokesperson Ofir Gendelman wrote in a statement.

He went on to say that Israel “was established as a safe haven for persecuted Jews from all over the world. It is saddening to see that this fact is being blatantly ignored by people who would do anything to cynically promote their own selfish interests by smearing their homeland.” — Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf, CJN

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