However, the Israel Prison Service, which runs the refugee camp, has argued that the heating devices posed a fire hazard and were thus removed.
MK Shimon Solomon (Yesh Atid), one of the activists petitioning the High Court of Justice to demand heaters, stated that the conditions for the African migrants at Holot are “worse than those for terrorists with blood on their hands.”
“The lack of heating devices in the sleeping quarters in the facility is not a mistake or logistics, it is policy,” the petition stated, adding it could be a government ploy to pressure the refugees to voluntarily leave Israel.
Following the intervention by refugee rights organizations, the asylum seekers received heating pads, but they barely provide any protection against the bitter cold.
“They gave us something small, a heating pad. It doesn’t help, it’s nothing. We told them it’s not right, we’re cold. They said they’ll bring us more heating pads by Sunday,” Haaretz quotes one detainee as saying.
The IPS maintains the situation is not as bad as “certain sources” are trying to portray it and that the asylum-seekers have access all day to heated areas and that blankets and jackets continue to be handed out.