Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists broke matzo with Jewish Israelis in a Tel Aviv basketball court before this year’s Passover began. The “Out of Egypt” seder, a thousand-strong gathering in a seedy park near the central bus station, was four days early; many of the guests—African refugees and Asian migrant workers—are busy cleaning Israeli homes during Passover proper. The Sudanese and Eritrean guests have literal Out-of-Egypt stories to tell: Most lived in Cairo for months or years before crossing the Sinai by foot to get to Israel. But there’s no Moses in their exodus stories. There are Bedouin smugglers who charge thousands of dollars to lead them through the desert. There are Egyptian border guards who shoot. There are barbed-wire fences to run and jump—if they make it, into another people’s Zion.
The day before the refugee seder, anti-immigrant protestors in South Tel Aviv were calling on the government to do something about all the illegal “infiltrators” coming into Israel. “To ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the state,” Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans for a security barrier along the Egypt-Israel border: a combination of fencing and surveillance technology, to stop the flow of Africans (one to two hundred per week) crossing into Israel.
Continue reading Ashley Makar’s article here.