Shmuel Rosner serves as a Tel Aviv based think tank fellow, columnist and editor. Rosner is a senior fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times, the Senior Political Editor for the Jewish Journal, a columnist for Israel’s Maariv, and the chief non-fiction editor for Israel’s largest Publishing House, Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir.
For the next few episodes, we’ll be exploring the African asylum seeking community in Tel Aviv. Since the late 1990s up until Israel sealed its southern border in 2012, thousands of Africans from Eritrea and Sudan have fled persecution in their own countries to Israel. Currently, some 38,000 reside in the state with neither refugee status or any path to citizenship. As non-legal residents, these asylum seekers face countless challenges to gain employment, receive an education, and resist deportation.
At long last, welcome to Is(that)raeli?
For our first episode, we spoke with Miri Eisin about the history of immigration to Israel since its founding, the limitations of language to describe complex and often controversial realities, and, even a bit about her fascinating life!
71 years old, home to 8.7 million inhabitants, and with the land mass of New Jersey, Israel receives a lot of attention in the media relative to its population and size. As two Jewish-American college students, we’re incredibly fascinated by this young nation and want to dive deep and build a nuanced understanding of this place. Beyond the juxtaposing, politicized portrayals of Israel of modern-day miracle and as occupier, we felt that there was a more important story to be told: that of actual Israelis!
We spent 10 weeks interviewing Israelis from all walks of life, from an Eritrean asylum seeker to the American-Israeli former spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, painting a much more nuanced, much more human portrait of a place for which conventional language is insufficient to describe its complexities. By helping Israelis tell their stories, it is our hope that you, the listener, will be able to learn, as we have through this journey, to view macroscopic issues through another’s eyes.