JERUSALEM (JTA) – South Sudanese migrants will not be forced to leave Israel by the end of the month as planned.
On Thursday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry recommended that the refugees be permitted to remain in Israel for another six months after the Jerusalem District Court issued an injunction preventing their deportation before April 15. The court’s order was in response to a petition by aid organizations against the Interior Ministry’s deadline of March 31 as the last day that the migrants could remain in Israel.
The Foreign Ministry said the conditions were not yet right for the migrants to return to South Sudan, according to Haaretz.
Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa — asylum seekers and those seeking to better themselves economically — have entered Israel illegally though Egypt in recent years. Up to 3,000 of the migrants are reported to be from South Sudan, according to Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority.
Since South Sudan became an independent nation in July, refugees from the area no longer require protected status in Israel, the Interior Ministry ruled two months ago.