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What Will Happen to Sudanese Asylum Seekers in Israel after a Truce?

Sudanese asylum seekers living in Israel fear being kicked out once ties are normalised between the two countries, though some hope their presence will be seen as an advantage. Technically at war with Israel for decades, Sudan on Friday became the third Arab country this year to announce it is normalising ties with the Jewish state, following the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in August. But since the announcement, members of the Sudanese community in Israel have been “very afraid” of being sent back, said 26-year-old Barik Saleh, a Sudanese asylum seeker who lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Israel counts a Sudanese population of around 6,000, mostly asylum seekers. Thousands of others left or were forced to return after Sudan split in 2011 when South Sudan won its independence — only for the fledgling country to plunge into civil war. Some of the Sudanese — often labelled as “infiltrators” for crossing illegally into Israeli territory before being granted permission to stay — were minors when they arrived. They are not always allowed to work, and they cannot gain Israeli citizenship.