HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has assisted more than 4.5 million refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity. Today HIAS works across 14 countries and five continents.
HIAS Israel assists olim (Jewish immigrants), works with civil society organizations and governmental bodies to improve the refugee asylum system and represents asylum seekers through legal proceedings.
Activity in Israel
HIAS has been working in Israel since before the establishment of the State. HIAS Israel’s goal is to be a professional authority in the field of immigration and to address the challenges facing new immigrants and asylum seekers. Our programs:
Training and Legal Aid:
After several years of providing professional instruction to lawyers and organizations in the field of Refugee Law, and participating in the Interior Ministry’s training unit of the RSD (Refugee Status Determination) for handling asylum seekers, in 2014 we launched a Pro-Bono Legal Aid program to guide and represent asylum seekers in Israel. We train and mentor attorneys and law students while they represent refugees though out their legal proceedings.
Olim (Jewish immigrants):
For the past three decades HIAS Israel has worked together with the Jewish Agency and the HIAS office in New York City, to help new Jewish immigrants by providing academic scholarships. Recipients are chosen according to their academic achievements, financial needs and contributions to the community.
Activity Around the World
HIAS currently operates across five continents and 14 countries. HIAS focuses on promoting the rights of refugees through legal aid and intervention, assisting refugees to overcome trauma so they can begin anew through psychological care and on providing avenues for self-sufficiency through livelihood training.
For more information on HIAS work around the world visit: Www.hias.org.
The History of HIAS:
HIAS was founded in 1881, originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe and other places around the world. Out of a little shop in Manhattan, a group of American Jews organized to provide much-needed comfort and aid to thousands of Jews fleeing waves of anti-Semitic riots. They formed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to provide meals, transportation and jobs for the new arrivals to Manhattan. HIAS established a bureau on Ellis Island in 1904 providing translation services, guiding immigrants through medical screenings, arguing before the Boards of Special Enquiry to prevent deportations, and obtaining bonds to guarantee employable status.
In 1921 HIAS purchased the Astor Library Building in Lafayette Street, Manhattan and opened a shelter, a synagogue, classes, professional training, playground and a kosher soup kitchen, that served thousands of Jewish immigrants each week.
Over the next 80 years HIAS assisted millions of Jews fleeing persecution. To read more about this history go to: www.hias.org
Starting in the 2000s, HIAS expanded to work with refugees from all religions. Today, HIAS continues to work with the most vulnerable refugees of all faiths and ethnicities from all over the world.