There is currently a serious migration issue that affects a large proportion of the Western world. It stems to some extent from crises in West Africa, as well as conflicts across the Middle East. Thousands of people are displaced every day as a result, seeking asylum in bordering countries. It’s not an unusual predicament, and many of my friends and their families came to Australia as refugees decades ago. So it’s important to me how governments around the world are handling the current situation. I get it, there are many factors involved, and as much as we might like it to be, it’s not just as clear cut as letting someone in because of a life-or-death situation. But why?
One country in the spotlight of this conversation is Israel. Here is a country that finds itself in a unique geographical predicament. It exists as the narrow land mass connecting West Africa through an eventual pathway to Europe. For some, Israel is a stepping stone to a better life. For others, it represents the final destination away from a lifetime of atrocities and a hope for a better future for them and their children. So why is it so hard?
Hotline (המוקד) is a small Israeli NGO focused on promoting the rights of refugees and migrants in Israel. The film, directed by Silvina Landsmann, is a meaningful behind-the-scenes look at the issues the organisation faces on a daily basis, and the lives of those directly affected by it. It poses a lot of questions. For many of these asylum seekers, if not all, they must come to terms with a legal and financial limbo, caught without status, citizenship, or identity. It is a deeply moving proposition to look into their eyes, listen as they seek refuge from the perils of the country with which they have previously identified, and say that nothing can be done. This is a movie that furthers a continuation of the dialogue with ‘how can anyone do something like that?’ and ‘what can I do to help?’.
For more information, visit www.hotline.org.il.
Cover image under creative commons here.