Israel: LGBT Palestinians granted asylum to be given work permits

i24NEWS

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People take part in an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem, on June 28, 2020.
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90People take part in an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem, on June 28, 2020.

'They had no access to work, to health care, to welfare services,' says a social worker at the Agudah group

Israel will grant work permits to LGBT Palestinians fleeing persecution in the West Bank, as well as those fleeing domestic violence, the government announced Sunday.

The restrictions placed on LGBT Palestinians drove many to work illegally in the country. The current policy had the government refuse to automatically grant work permits to these two categories of Palestinians given asylum. 

“They had no access to work, to health care, to welfare services. And so what we’d see over time is that their situation would deteriorate. These are people who already arrive here traumatized, after being attacked and persecuted,” said Naama Sabato, a social worker at the Agudah rights group, according to The Times of Israel.

The announcement was made after several human rights organizations asked the High Court of Justice to rule on the matter. 

Palestinians who have fled to Israel due to sexual orientation or family violence arising from social and family norms live here for months and years without any safety net,” said Adi Lustigman, the lawyer representing the suing human-rights group, which includes Physicians for Human Rights, HIAS Israel, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Worker’s Hotline, Haaretz reported.

The state "expected them to live on nothing," she said. 

According to the Welfare Ministry, roughly 90 LGBT Palestinians currently live in Israel on short-term permits, which require them to be renewed every couple of months. 

Israel approved just 66 Palestinians for asylum as of last January, and they can currently only get a work permit if they can prove they have a job offer. 

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