Bernard Abet, who has resided in Israel since 1997, says he would rather go to jail than return to the Ivory Coast where he believes he would share the same fate as his brother, who was kidnapped and killed last year. In February, Israel plans to expel 2,000 migrants from the country
Bernard Abet, who has resided in Israel since 1997, says he would rather go to jail than return to the Ivory Coast where he believes he would share the same fate as his brother, who was kidnapped and Show more

His chance of asylum in Israel? 1 in 15,000

Since 2009 Israel has granted refugee status to only three African asylum-seekers out of a total of 45,000 who arrived at its border with Egypt. Activists say that is a poor record for a country created by refugees escaping persecution. Vita Bekker, Foreign Correspondent, reports

For Ibrahim Saadeldin, life in Sudan's war-riven Darfur region was hellish.

As a law student in 2004, he says he was beaten by state security forces after refusing to join the army. Months later, he was abducted, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by the pro-government Janjaweed militia, which also killed his brother. Suspected of being a rebel, he was imprisoned and tortured, including with hot metal rods, before escaping to Egypt and then to Israel.

Despite the hardships that the 30-year-old had endured in his home country, and his fear of political persecution should he return, Israel does not recognise him as a refugee.

However, Mr Saadeldin is hardly alone. Since 2009, Israel has granted refugee status to only three African asylum-seekers out of a total of about 45,000 who have illegally arrived at its border with Egypt, charging that they had immigrated merely to improve their livelihoods.

"They accuse us of being labour migrants - but we are refugees and we have rights," said Mr Saadeldin. "Every day the government makes new decisions against us. We live in a constant state of anxiety and we don't know what will happen tomorrow."

Israel's treatment of asylum-seekers from violent African countries - mostly from Sudan and Eritrea - is drawing condemnation from human-rights groups as the country tries to stem the influx along its porous 250-kilometre desert frontier with Egypt.

Among its contentious measures, Israel intends to build a security fence along its border with Egypt and construct a massive prison that would hold as many as 15,000 so-called infiltrators. Activists say it would be the world's largest jail for asylum-seekers. This month, the parliament also passed legislation that would allow authorities to detain for an indefinite period anyone illegally crossing its border. Rights advocates have blasted the penalty as immoral and claimed it was an unusual move among western countries, which typically have finite detentions.

Israel refuses to help asylum-seekers with housing, health care, welfare or education, and does not provide them with official work permits, forcing many to seek low-paying jobs with dire conditions. "Most western countries give asylum-seekers rights like housing or welfare, if not work permits, during the asylum process," said Reut Michaeli, who heads the Tel Aviv activist group Hotline for Migrant Workers.

Refugee advocates also condemn Israel's refusal to recognise any Sudanese or Eritrean - who altogether make up 85 per cent of asylum-seekers in Israel - as refugees.

Sabin Hadad, an interior ministry spokeswoman, said the Israeli government decided in 2008 to provide a "blanket protection" for all migrants from Sudan or Eritrea that would prevent them from being deported. Such protection, she added, has meant that there has been no urgency in advancing their asylum applications.

Mrs Hadad also dismissed activists' claims that the government's decision was an excuse not to grant any Sudanese or Eritreans asylum rights.

While all developed countries face the challenge of how to deal with a tide of poor asylum-seekers, refugee advocates claim that Israel is performing especially badly in processing their asylum requests.

UN figures show that in 2010, Israel made only 17 decisions on whether to grant asylum out of a total of 5,592 people, mostly from Africa, whose applications were pending. By comparison, the US made decisions on 40,545 asylum-seekers that year out of a total of 72,464 whose applications were pending. The UAE has also proven more efficient than Israel, deciding on the requests of 428 asylum-seekers out of 514 people with pending applications.

Yesterday, Israel's interior ministry announced that about 7,000 South Sudanese in Israel would have to leave by the end of March or face deportation because their region gained independence from Sudan in July.

This month, the Israeli government plans to expel some 2,000 migrants from the Ivory Coast. This decision comes despite the United Nations in July saying it is extending its peacekeeping operation by another year because the situation in the Ivory Coast "continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region".

Ivorians residing in Israel, to whom Israel last month stopped extending visas, have vowed to fight the deportation. Bernard Abet, a 35-year-old who has been in Israel since 1997, said his older brother was kidnapped and killed in post-election violence last year in Abidjan, the country's largest city, while his mother and sister escaped to neighbouring Ghana. "I will go to jail before they make me return," said Mr Abet during a walk near his home in Tel Aviv. "The security situation there is not stable and I am afraid they'll also kill me."

Mr Abet said he plans to organise a protest and reapply for asylum.

But his quest is unlikely to succeed in a country that refugee advocates claim has one of the lowest rates for granting asylum.

Israel insists most of the Africans arrived solely to improve their economic well-being and fears that if it allows them to remain and work then others will follow.

Concerns have also emerged among religious groups and the right-wing that the increase in African migrants might reduce Israel's Jewish majority, especially in the face of a fast-growing Palestinian population both within Israel's recognised borders and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel has faced much criticism for its policies, mostly because the country itself was created more than six decades ago by refugees who escaped the persecution of Jews that culminated in the Holocaust.

Despite Israel's approach, an average of about 1,000 asylum-seekers from Africa arrive each month, risking their lives with harrowing experiences as they make perilous treks across the Sinai desert.

Hundreds have been shot by Egyptian border guards whom activists claim are trigger-happy, and women have been frequent victims of gang-rape by their Bedouin guides. Some aid workers say they have testimonies from dozens of Eritreans who were held captive for ransoms of as much as US$10,000 (Dh36,700) by traffickers while trying to get to Israel.

Once in Israel, most come to Tel Aviv, the country's business and cultural centre, in search of jobs, their growing presence spurring tensions with some locals.

Indeed, a group of residents has been advancing a campaign not to rent homes to the African newcomers while the Tel Aviv municipality has issued an order to shut down businesses that employ them. Dozens of those who lack homes or jobs have taken refuge at a park near Tel Aviv's central bus station, often sleeping on flattened carton boxes in the playground or on grass areas as they huddle under donated blankets.

Despite their plights, some asylum-seekers have managed to rebuild their lives.

Mr Saadeldin, who walked for three days through Sinai with only one bottle of Coke before reaching Israel in 2006, already speaks fluent Hebrew and works in the Tel Aviv municipality's education department. An ardent refugee activist and law student, Mr Saadeldin said he serves as a bridge between Israelis and asylum-seekers and has given dozens of speeches about his experiences.

"I tell my story to help Israelis understand that we are refugees - just like the people who had founded this country were," he said.

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 


Copa del Rey, semi-final second leg

Real Madrid 0
Barcelona 3 (Suarez (50', 73' pen), Varane (69' OG)


Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020

Company Profile

Name: Nadeera
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Founders: Rabih El Chaar and Reem Khattar
Sector: CleanTech
Total funding: About $1 million
Investors: Hope Ventures, Rasameel Investments and support from accelerator programmes
Number of employees: 12

Company profile:


Started: January 2018

Founder(s): Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech, micro finance

Initial investment: $1 million


Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi

Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania

Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola

Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.


6.35pm: The Madjani Stakes – Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,900m

7.10pm: Evidenza – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,200m

7.45pm: The Longines Conquest – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 2,000m

8.20: The Longines Elegant – Conditions (TB) Dh82,500 (D)

8.35pm: The Dubai Creek Mile – Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m

9.30pm: Mirdif Stakes – Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (D) 1,400m

10.05pm: The Longines Record – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,900m

Four scenarios for Ukraine war

1. Protracted but less intense war (60% likelihood)

2. Negotiated end to the conflict (30%)

3. Russia seizes more territory (20%)

4. Ukraine pushes Russia back (10%)

Forecast by Economist Intelligence Unit

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

No.6 Collaborations Project

Ed Sheeran (Atlantic)

A general guide to how active you are:

Less than 5,000 steps - sedentary

5,000 - 9,999 steps - lightly active

10,000  - 12,500 steps - active

12,500+ - highly active

Will the pound fall to parity with the dollar?

The idea of pound parity now seems less far-fetched as the risk grows that Britain may split away from the European Union without a deal.

Rupert Harrison, a fund manager at BlackRock, sees the risk of it falling to trade level with the dollar on a no-deal Brexit. The view echoes Morgan Stanley’s recent forecast that the currency can plunge toward $1 (Dh3.67) on such an outcome. That isn’t the majority view yet – a Bloomberg survey this month estimated the pound will slide to $1.10 should the UK exit the bloc without an agreement.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Britain will leave the EU on the October 31 deadline with or without an agreement, fuelling concern the nation is headed for a disorderly departure and fanning pessimism toward the pound. Sterling has fallen more than 7 per cent in the past three months, the worst performance among major developed-market currencies.

“The pound is at a much lower level now but I still think a no-deal exit would lead to significant volatility and we could be testing parity on a really bad outcome,” said Mr Harrison, who manages more than $10 billion in assets at BlackRock. “We will see this game of chicken continue through August and that’s likely negative for sterling,” he said about the deadlocked Brexit talks.

The pound fell 0.8 per cent to $1.2033 on Friday, its weakest closing level since the 1980s, after a report on the second quarter showed the UK economy shrank for the first time in six years. The data means it is likely the Bank of England will cut interest rates, according to Mizuho Bank.

The BOE said in November that the currency could fall even below $1 in an analysis on possible worst-case Brexit scenarios. Options-based calculations showed around a 6.4 per cent chance of pound-dollar parity in the next one year, markedly higher than 0.2 per cent in early March when prospects of a no-deal outcome were seemingly off the table.



Director: Neill Blomkamp

Stars: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Darren Barnet

Rating: 3/5


Euro 2020 qualifier

Norway v Spain, Saturday, 10.45pm, UAE


Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The years Ramadan fell in May





Profile of Hala Insurance

Date Started: September 2018

Founders: Walid and Karim Dib

Based: Abu Dhabi

Employees: Nine

Amount raised: $1.2 million

Funders: Oman Technology Fund, AB Accelerator, 500 Startups, private backers


Landfill in numbers

• Landfill gas is composed of 50 per cent methane

• Methane is 28 times more harmful than Co2 in terms of global warming

• 11 million total tonnes of waste are being generated annually in Abu Dhabi

• 18,000 tonnes per year of hazardous and medical waste is produced in Abu Dhabi emirate per year

• 20,000 litres of cooking oil produced in Abu Dhabi’s cafeterias and restaurants every day is thrown away

• 50 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s waste is from construction and demolition

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

Schedule for show courts

Centre Court - from 4pm UAE time

Johanna Konta (6) v Donna Vekic

Andy Murray (1) v Dustin Brown

Rafael Nadal (4) v Donald Young

Court 1 - from 4pm UAE time

Kei Nishikori (9) v Sergiy Stakhovsky

Qiang Wang v Venus Williams (10)

Beatriz Haddad Maia v Simona Halep (2)

Court 2 - from 2.30pm

Heather Watson v Anastasija Sevastova (18)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) v Simone Bolelli

Florian Mayer v Marin Cilic (7)

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, six-cylinder

Transmission: six-speed manual

Power: 395bhp

Torque: 420Nm

Price: from Dh321,200

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, flat six-cylinder
Transmission: seven-speed PDK
Power: 510hp
Torque: 470Nm
Price: from Dh634,200
On sale: now

The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees
Tom Sleigh, Graywolf Press


Director: Baz Luhrmann

Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2019 GMC Yukon Denali

Price, base: Dh306,500
Engine: 6.2-litre V8
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Power: 420hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 621Nm @ 4,100rpm​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Fuel economy, combined: 12.9L / 100km

The specs: Fenyr SuperSport

Price, base: Dh5.1 million

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 800hp @ 7,100pm

Torque: 980Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 13.5L / 100km

Mia Man’s tips for fermentation

- Start with a simple recipe such as yogurt or sauerkraut

- Keep your hands and kitchen tools clean. Sanitize knives, cutting boards, tongs and storage jars with boiling water before you start.

- Mold is bad: the colour pink is a sign of mold. If yogurt turns pink as it ferments, you need to discard it and start again. For kraut, if you remove the top leaves and see any sign of mold, you should discard the batch.

- Always use clean, closed, airtight lids and containers such as mason jars when fermenting yogurt and kraut. Keep the lid closed to prevent insects and contaminants from getting in.


More from Armen Sarkissian

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

If you go

The flights 

Emirates flies from Dubai to Funchal via Lisbon, with a connecting flight with Air Portugal. Economy class returns cost from Dh3,845 return including taxes.

The trip

The WalkMe app can be downloaded from the usual sources. If you don’t fancy doing the trip yourself, then Explore  offers an eight-day levada trails tour from Dh3,050, not including flights.

The hotel

There isn’t another hotel anywhere in Madeira that matches the history and luxury of the Belmond Reid's Palace in Funchal. Doubles from Dh1,400 per night including taxes.




The Dubai Metaverse Assembly will host three main tracks:

Educate: Consists of more than 10 in-depth sessions on the metaverse

Inspire: Will showcase use cases of the metaverse in tourism, logistics, retail, education and health care

Contribute: Workshops for metaverse foresight and use-case reviews


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

It's up to you to go green

Nils El Accad, chief executive and owner of Organic Foods and Café, says going green is about “lifestyle and attitude” rather than a “money change”; people need to plan ahead to fill water bottles in advance and take their own bags to the supermarket, he says.

“People always want someone else to do the work; it doesn’t work like that,” he adds. “The first step: you have to consciously make that decision and change.”

When he gets a takeaway, says Mr El Accad, he takes his own glass jars instead of accepting disposable aluminium containers, paper napkins and plastic tubs, cutlery and bags from restaurants.

He also plants his own crops and herbs at home and at the Sheikh Zayed store, from basil and rosemary to beans, squashes and papayas. “If you’re going to water anything, better it be tomatoes and cucumbers, something edible, than grass,” he says.

“All this throwaway plastic - cups, bottles, forks - has to go first,” says Mr El Accad, who has banned all disposable straws, whether plastic or even paper, from the café chain.

One of the latest changes he has implemented at his stores is to offer refills of liquid laundry detergent, to save plastic. The two brands Organic Foods stocks, Organic Larder and Sonnett, are both “triple-certified - you could eat the product”.  

The Organic Larder detergent will soon be delivered in 200-litre metal oil drums before being decanted into 20-litre containers in-store.

Customers can refill their bottles at least 30 times before they start to degrade, he says. Organic Larder costs Dh35.75 for one litre and Dh62 for 2.75 litres and refills will cost 15 to 20 per cent less, Mr El Accad says.

But while there are savings to be had, going green tends to come with upfront costs and extra work and planning. Are we ready to refill bottles rather than throw them away? “You have to change,” says Mr El Accad. “I can only make it available.”

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