Managing the Despair: Monitoring Report – Asylum Seekers at the Holot Facility April–September 2014


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The rapidly-enacted fourth amendment of the Anti-Infiltration Law, which was 
passed in December 2013, brought about the opening of the Holot facility, a facility 
surrounded by a tall fence and operated by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), but 
not defined as a prison because those detained within it are free to exit its gates 
between the three daily roll calls they are required toattend. The creation of Holot 
was a turning point in the lives of asylum seekers in Israel. Thousands of men 
were summoned to report to the facility, whether they met the criteria set by the 
Ministry of the Interior or not. 

On 12 June 2014, the media reported that the authorities were considering turning 
certain wings of the adjacent Saharonim prison into “open” wings, similar to 
Holot, in order to provide enough space for all the asylum seekers summoned to 

According to the current criteria, all Eritrean asylum seekers who came 
to Israel before the end of May 2009 (about 19% of the Eritrean community in 
Israel) and all Sudanese asylum seekers who arrived before the end of May 2011 
(approximately 56% of the Sudanese community in Israel) are to be imprisoned 
at Holot. At the same time, imprisonment at Holot excludes minors, women, and 
men who manage to prove they are fathers to children in Israel or are married in 
Israel. According to Ministry of the Interior (MOI) figures, almost twelve thousand 
people meet these criteria – about three-and-a-half times the number of beds 
at Holot. 

This report follows up on From One Prison to Another, a report published by the 
Hotline for Refugees and Migrants (hereafter “the Hotline”) on 30 March 2014, as 
part of the Hotline’s ongoing monitoring. This is the second report examining the 
situation at the Holot facility and its impact on the asylum seeker community 
in Israel. This report was written together with Physicians for Human Rights 
(hereinafter “PHR”) and also discusses the right to healthcare of detainees at 
the facility and its realization in practice. In the five months since the first report, 
Hotline and PHR employees and volunteers have continued visiting the facility, 
conversing with the staff and detainees, and documenting the goings-on.

Product details
Date of Publication
September 2014
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Physicians for Human Rights
Number of Pages
All rights reserved.
Language of publication
English, Hebrew
Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Review of the situation at the Holot facility
3. The protest of asylum seekers in Holot
4. Health services provided at the Holot facility
5. Psychological effects of incarceration
6. Psychological state of Holot detainees
7. Summary and recommendations