By Amit Acco, Partner |

The Population and Immigration Authority operates the “Yehalom” facility, a detention facility located at Ben Gurion Airport.

The purpose of the facility is to serve as a place to hold those denied entry and a place of detention for deportees whose flight date is coming while maintaining and handling them under appropriate conditions.

Recent two internal authority reports revealed several deficiencies in the conditions of detention at the Yahalom facility. Among other things, the auditor wrote that the facility’s employees are forced to pay for the detainees’ medicines out of their own pockets.

According to the Population and Immigration Authority, the problem has not yet been resolved: no supplier of medicines has yet been found for the detainees, and in the meantime, they are purchased through the facility’s small cash register.

In addition, the auditor wrote that there is a shortage of basic equipment in the facility, such as replacement underwear, brushes, and toothpaste. Another issue mentioned in the reports is that in some cases, detainees whose mobile phones were taken from them were not allowed to talk on the phone in the facility.

The Yahalom facility operates under the Entry Into Israel Law and therefore is not subject to the Israel Prison Service. This means that official visitors such as Knesset members, judges, and other individuals who are allowed to visit prison facilities cannot enter the facility. Only the detainees’ immigration lawyers and foreign missions, embassies, and consulates can visit the facility only by prior arrangement.

Most of those detained in the facility are denied entry into Israel. Other detainees in the facility are people who were in Israel without a permit and are awaiting removal from the country. According to the facility’s procedures, a detainee may be held for a maximum of 30 days. According to the data, between 2017 and mid-2022, 40,414 people were held in the facility, most of whom were held for less than a week.

The facility also occasionally incarcerates children with their parents, with 1,142 minors incarcerated there between 2017 and mid-2022. One of the arguments presented in the audit report is that there is a limited amount of toys and other equipment needed for extended stays of families in the facility.

According to the facility procedures, every minor who arrives at the facility must meet with a social worker within 24 hours of his arrival, and families may be held in the facility for a maximum of 72 hours.

The Comptroller noted several other claims, including that those denied entry to the facility do not receive an update on their condition and the time of their return flight, and that there is no sun and rain protection in the yard at the facility. The auditor also addressed the claim of the facility’s employees, according to which there is a shortage of staff members.

Kan-Tor & Acco lawyers are authorized to enter the Yahalom Detention Center Facilities, to legally consult the detainees about their rights. Please contact us urgently if representation is needed.  03-6138202 or