Not the promised land: African asylum seekers and refugees in Israel

Michal Shamai, Yair Amir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenomenon of African asylum seekers in Israel is relatively new. The purpose of the study was twofold: (a) to investigate how the asylum seekers construct their life stories and (b) to discover which aspects of the constructed life stories can be taken into consideration by various mental health professionals when providing help to asylum seekers. In this study, we interviewed 16 asylum seekers residing in Israel using the narrative method. Based on holistic analysis, we collected three groups of stories: "Then see what course life takes in the future," "I'm not yet free," and "Open prison." In the discussion of the findings, we focus on the similarities and differences among the groups of stories, with reference to the role of the sociopolitical context and to the private and social self as part of the participants' wellbeing. We make implementation suggestions for mental health interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-517
Number of pages14
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • Life stories
  • Mental health
  • Refugees
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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