"I know nothing about Africa": Children of undocumented Sub-Saharan African labor migrants in Israel, between integration and deportation

Galia Sabar, Yonatan N. Gez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Sub-Saharan African labor migrants began their arrival to Israel in the early 1990s. Though some of them lived in the country for many years, a lack of a civic horizon brought many Africans to regard their stay as temporary. This attitude was manifested for example in sending their children back home when reaching school age. Since the late 1990s, with the introduction of massive deportations, some Africans chose instead to keep their children in Israel as part of their emerging struggle for residency rights. The state of Israel on its part has so far (2009) avoided applying its deportation regulations in the case of children, although it also failed to develop a comprehensive policy on work migrants' children. In the lack thereof, policy formation has been an ongoing process involving the migrants themselves, official state representatives and human right organizations. A significant part of the chapter is dedicated to examining African migrant children's inclusion in the Israeli education system as a way of assessing state handling of these children as well as their integration into Israeli society. Our findings indicate that, due to the ambiguity generated by the unpredictability of state decisions, many Africans in Israel have wrongly cast their children's lot as well as their own, an act which raises questions regarding integration in cases of uncertain citizenship status. The research is based on analysis of written sources (academic and other) and qualitative data gathered in Israel and Africa. Though focusing on African migrant laborers in Israel, our study touches on broader dilemmas migrant parents face worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWho pays the price?
Subtitle of host publicationForeign workers, society, crime and the law
EditorsMally Shechory, Sarah Ben-David, Dan Soen
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781612098784
ISBN (Print)9781608763207, 160876320X
StatePublished - 2010

Publication series

NameSocial issues, justice and status series


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