A new amendment to Israel’s “Anti-Infiltration” law effectively strips all “asylum seekers” in that country of access to medical services—a move which the Israeli government and the international Jewish lobby would condemned as “racist” and “inhuman” if implemented by any European nation.
According to a report issued by the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organization, the new Israeli amendment will “will affect asylum seekers’ food security and ability to afford medical treatment.”
The amendment, known as the Deposit Law, “forms part of a wider strategy by the Israeli government to make the lives of asylum seekers increasingly difficult, so as to coerce them to leave Israel ‘voluntarily’ and return to their home countries or to third countries,” the PHR report said.
“Importantly, this amendment will have particularly disastrous implications on the health of asylum seekers, as it will immediately affect their living conditions, their food security and their very ability to afford medical treatments,” PHR continued.
The amendment mandates that 20 percent of the earnings of all “asylum seekers” legally employed must be deducted from their salary and be put aside until they leave Israel.
Employers are required to put aside 16 percent, with the additional effect of rendering employment of asylum seekers less attractive.
As a result, “asylum seekers” will receive as little as 70 percent of their “earlier, already low, salary, leaving them with minimal to no disposable income for medical needs and food security,” the PHR report said.
Asylum seekers in Israel are already not included under the National Health Insurance Act and therefore enjoy very limited access to the public health care services.
Asylum seekers who are employed may receive coverage by private health insurance companies, but this coverage is extremely limited in its scope, and terminates once the person becomes too ill to work.
Therefore, most asylum seekers have to rely on ad hoc non-profit institutions, such as the PHR’s Open Clinic, to receive preliminary health care services. The Open Clinic already treats 6,000 patients per year, but is unable to cover all the medical needs of its patients, and so it must refer them to other facilities in order to receive further consultations, exams, treatments and procedures.
“Whereas until recently some of PHR’s patients were able to afford these diagnostic procedures, with the new law in effect, most of PHR’s patients will suddenly find themselves deprived of adequate funds and unable to pay even for such tests, let alone for more expensive but necessary treatments,” the report continued.
“Additionally, the dramatic decrease in their income will also immediately affect their food security and endanger their ability to pay the rent.
“It will also make it harder for them to cover the insurance fees for their children—for whom the government has arranged an insurance plan at the cost of 120 NIS per child.
“With the new amendment in place, more parents will face a choice between putting food on the table or securing healthcare for their children.”