No detention centre mapping data

Israel Immigration Detention

Israel has experienced important increases in migration flows from Africa, which has spurred passage of a number of restrictive measures. These have included the creation of a specialised immigration force tasked with deporting irregular residents, proposals to build walls along its borders to stem "infiltrations" by "illegal workers," and construction of new detention facilities.

Quick Facts

International migrants (2015): 2,011,700
New asylum applications (2014): 226

Centres List

No detention centres data available

Statistics Expand all


Criminal prison population


  • Criminal prison population
NumberObservation Date


Percentage of foreign prisoners


  • Percentage of foreign prisoners
PercentageObservation Date


Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)


  • Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
NumberObservation Date




  • Population
NumberObservation Date


International migrants


  • International migrants
NumberObservation Date


International migrants as a percentage of the population


  • International migrants as a percentage of the population
PercentageObservation Date




  • Refugees
NumberObservation Date


Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants


  • Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
NumberObservation Date


Total number of new asylum applications


  • Total number of new asylum applications
NumberObservation Date


Refugee recognition rate


  • Refugee recognition rate
NumberObservation Date


Stateless persons


  • Stateless persons
NumberObservation Date

Domestic Law Expand all

Legal tradition Show sources
NameObservation Date
Civil law2017
Common law2017
Jewish law2017
Muslim law2017

Core pieces of national legislation Show sources
NameYear AdoptedLast Year Amended
Prevention of Infiltration (Offences and Jurisdiction) Law, 5714-1954, 8 LSI 133 (5714-1953/54). as amended19542014

Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice? Show sources
NameIn LawIn PracticeObservation Date
Accompanied minorsProvidedNo2016

Latest Update Show sources
Update StatusObservation Date
After deconfinement began on 27 in Israel, new Covid infections increased sharply. However, the real number of infections in the country is difficult to assess because of fears amongst workers about the consequences of presenting themselves for testing. Migrant workers and asylum seekers appear to have a much higher infection rate than the rest of the population. The government's National Information and Knowledge Center reports that 25 percent of tested foreign workers were positive for COVID-19. However, due to the fear of losing their jobs if they are infected, many asylum-seekers do not get tested. Official estimates put the number of foreign workers in Tel Aviv alone at roughly 40,000. In a joint press statement on 11 May, UN officials called for the release of all children detained by the Israeli authorities in prisons and detention centres. Mentioning the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the statement said that “since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel, legal proceedings are on hold, almost all prison visits are cancelled, and children are denied in-person access to their families and their lawyers. This creates additional hardship, psychological suffering, and prevents the child from receiving the legal advice to which they are entitled.” At the end of March, UN officials estimated that 194 Palestinian were detained in Israel. On 16 April, a Palestinian NGO pressed Israeli authorities to ensure the rights of detainees. The organisation, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, highlighted “overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and inadequate access to healthcare” while pointing out that Palestinian prisoner are classified separately to regular prisoners. A petition was submitted to the Israeli High Court of Justice to demand that inmates be allowed to communicate with their family. At the time of this update, the court only responded by allowing minors a 10-minute call every two weeks. On 14 April, a coalition of NGOs issued an open letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urging the body to do more to protect “Palestinian prisoners’ right to health, particularly as many are minors, chronically ill, members of vulnerable groups, or held under administrative detention in contravention of international law.” The letter states that Israeli occupying authorities have disregarded Covid-19 guidelines in dealing with Palestinian prisoners and mentions that while the Israeli government released some 400 non-violent prisoners selected on the basis of health conditions and age, the government has not established the same release policy for Palestinian prisoners. Although some Palestinian prisoners had been freed, the government had not established any health or safety precautions to assist those infected or to protect the communities they are returning to.2020
Israel has implemented several measures impacting migrants and asylum seekers as well as prisoners. While one NGO, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, has reported that they were been able to get some people released from immigration detention since the crisis began, the GDP has found no additional reports detailing what, if any, measures are being taken by authorities in administrative immigration detention centres. There have also been increasing calls by rights actors demanding that Israel release Palestinian children held in Israeli jails, in particular as prisoners’ exposure to the coronavirus has increassed. In a 11 April interview with the Times of Israel, an advocate from the group Hotline explained that since the crisis began they have been emphasizing in their work getting asylum seekers released from detention: “Someone can be in jail for six months for a very light felony, and then they are suddenly transferred to administrative detention. All it takes is a decision by an official from the Population and Immigration Authority, who deems them a danger to society. … At that point, they can be held for a year or even two. So we try to get them released and give them legal representation. It’s become more urgent now, because there is a risk of mass contagion in prisons. In recent weeks we have been able to release seven people, and we are currently representing 10 more in an attempt to set them free.” Israel closed its borders in mid-March, barring all non-citizens from entering the country to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Population and Immigration Authority said that an exception would be made for non-nationals whose “centre of life is in Israel.” The Ministry of the Interior then extended all visas for non-citizens that are currently in Israel until 30 June 2020. Also in early March, authorities suspended all family visits to the country’s prisons as well as lawyers’ visits. These and other measures provoked widespread protests in prisons, in particular after reports that prisoners had been exposed to security personnel who had tested positive for Covid-19. According to Haaretz (23 March), “Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli jails for security-related offenses are threatening to go on a hunger strike to protest measures enforced by the Israel Prison Service, seeking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The prisoners object to searches conducted in their cells by prison guards without any protective gloves or face masks, as well as a ban on leaving cells and meeting their attorneys and family members, who the prison service fears might infect prisoners or guards with the virus if allowed into prisons.” On 1 April 2020, a Palestinian prisoner released from Ofer prison who had spent 12 days detained alongside 36 people, tested positive for Covid-19. However, even after being notified of this, the Israeli prison administration announced no plans to release or even test the prisoners held there. Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) reported on 19 March: “Four Palestinian prisoners detained at Israel’s Megiddo prison, located inside Israel northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, were placed in isolation after they were in contact with a COVID-19 positive Israeli officer. … Megiddo prison is one of several detention facilities located inside Israel where Palestinian child ‘security prisoners’ are held. ‘We know the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is for people to avoid being in close proximity to each other, said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCIP. ‘There is no way Israeli prison authorities can ensure the health and well-being of Palestinian child detainees as long as they continue to be in a custodial detention setting.’ An investigation by DCIP previously found Palestinian child prisoners detained in Israel’s Damon prison were held in poor conditions, including small rooms without access to clean and private bathroom facilities. Conditions such as these increase risks and exposure to unsanitary conditions where the COVID-19 virus thrives.”2020

International Law Expand all

International treaties Show sources
NameRatification Year
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2012
CTOCTP, Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children2008
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights1991
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights1991
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women1991
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment1991
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child1991
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination1979
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1968
CRSSP, Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons1958
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees1954
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted Show sources
NumberObservation Date
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies Show sources
NameRecommendation ExcerptRecommendation Year
Committee against Torture45. The State party should take the legislative and other measures necessary with a view to ensuring that the detention of persons entering its territory irregularly is only used as a last resort, when determined to be strictly necessary and proportionate in each individual case, and for as short a period as possible.2016
Human Rights Committee

§20 […] (d) Ensure that the new legislation abolishes the system of automatic detention of asylum seekers and requires that in each case, detention is reasonable, necessary and proportionate in light of the circumstances, and reassessed as it extends in time

Committee on the Rights of the Child

§70 […](d) Cease with immediate effect the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status; (e) Conduct individual assessments and evaluations of the best interests of the child at all decision stages of the migration process affecting children, and with the involvement of child protection professionals, the judiciary as well as children themselves. Primary consideration should also be given to the best interests of the child in any proceeding resulting in the child’s or their parents’ detention, return or deportation;


Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review Show sources
Recomendation IssuedYear IssuedObservation Date

Institutions Expand all

Custodial authority Show sources
AgencyMinistryMinistry TypologyObservation Date
Interior MinistryInterior or Home Affairs2011
Ministry of InteriorInterior or Home Affairs2009
Detention Facility Management Show sources
Entity NameEntity TypeObservation Date
Israel Prison ServiceGovernmental2016
Ministry of InteriorGovernmental2016
Israel Prison ServiceGovernmental2011
Immigration AdministrationGovernmental2011
Israeli immigration policeGovernmental2010
Immigration PoliceGovernmental2009
Israel Prison ServiceGovernmental2008
Immigration AdministrationGovernmental2003
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Immigration detention centre (Administrative)Immigration field office (Administrative)Transit centre (Administrative)Reception centre (Administrative)Offshore detention centre (Administrative)Hospital (Administrative)Border guard (Administrative)Police station (Criminal)National penitentiary (Criminal)Local prison (Criminal)Juvenile detention centre (Criminal)Informal camp (Ad hoc)Immigration detention centre (Ad hoc)Surge facility (Ad hoc)Observation Date

Socio Economic Data Expand all

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD) Show sources
Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)Observation Date
Remittances to the country Show sources
Remittances to the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
Remittances from the country Show sources
Remittances from the country (in millions USD)Observation Date
Unemployment Rate Show sources
Unemployment RateObservation Date
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP) Show sources
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)UNDP four-tiered rankingObservation Date
18Very high2015
19Very high2014

Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration Show sources
% who agree with the statement “We should restrict and control entry of people into our country more than we do now.”Observation Date

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