(Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem) August 31, 2015 – In the light of the appeal to offer hospitality to the asylum seekers released from Holot in the Negev, the religious communities of the Church of Jerusalem responded with heart warming generosity. (See Appeal for Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers)
Thank you to all those who expressed concern and willingness to help. In the light of the appeal of Father David Neuhaus SJ, Coordinator of the Pastoral among Migrants, to accommodate African asylum seekers released after more than a year of internment in the Holot facility in the Negev, many religious communities responded with the willingness to open their doors. In the Jerusalem area, close to 25 places were made available in different monasteries and convents. Religious communities responded from Bethlehem, Beit Shemesh and Haifa too.
In some cases, communities of sisters felt unable to accommodate men but offered help in other ways. One community offered to pay rent for one month for a group of four asylum seekers. Another community offered financial assistance to cover the costs of their accommodation.
In fact, only very few asylum seekers needed accommodation. Their own community took up the responsibility and opened their doors to accommodate their brothers. In addition, because the high cost of living and few jobs available in Jerusalem, few of the asylum seekers chose to come to Jerusalem preferring other Israeli cities.
One young man, Abdullah by name, did arrive at the Saint James Vicariate in Jerusalem. He explained that he fled from Darfur in Sudan after his village and all the surrounding area was burned to the ground by forces that are conducting a genocide in this region.
Let us continue to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters.