Tsinat, 31, sits in the Sirkin Street community garden, near Talpiot Market in the Hadar neighborhood, Haifa, Israel, April 5, 2021. For two years, while working as a locksmith, Tsinat taught the children of the community to read and write in Tigrinya, one of the two official languages of Eritrea. “My mother was a teacher. In my country, when we went to church as kids, some people taught us. We knew nothing so they sat us down altogether and taught us the letters and how to pray. When I came here, I started teaching the children, and we have a lot of them, thank God. We say we might go back there (to Eritrea). With the good Lord's help, we think everything will be fine and we will return to our country. So these children need to learn their language, the letters, so that they will not have a hard time there”. © Daniel Rolider

In Hadar Going Nowhere

Daniel Rolider

 February – June 2021 — Hadar, Israel

About this series

In the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa, in old houses that are now only remnants of a golden age that has long passed, lives a community of Eritrean asylum seekers. Between 500 and 700 Eritreans live in Hadar, one of Haifa’s poorest neighborhoods, out of approximately 21,000 currently living throughout Israel. They live under the radar without basic rights, such as access to healthcare and welfare services, in an endless limbo. On the one hand, Israel cannot deport them due to international laws that grant protection to individuals who meet the consensus definition of a “refugee”. On the other hand, the government has not been approving asylum applications for Eritreans. By combining documentary photography with written dialogue from men and women, single and married, from the Hadar community of Eritrean asylum seekers, this project aims to shed light on the harsh reality that they have been forced into, as well as the reality they
.created for themselves 

Yagen (right), 8, and Finot 6, the children of asylum-seeking parents from Eritrea, play at their home in the Hadar neighborhood, Haifa, Israel, May 2, 2021. Most asylum seekers came to Haifa after fleeing the poverty, drugs, and crime of south Tel Aviv. “It’s difficult in Tel Aviv, especially if you have kids", said Fokor, the father of Yagen and Finot. "All the houses are made of drywall which smells bad when it rains. One day, a friend who lived here came to see us and said, 'Come to Haifa, there are beautiful houses and I will find you a job'. And here, everything is better; the schools, the kindergartens. In Tel Aviv, they (the city council) don't care about anything, they opened a school only for Eritreans and Sudanese. Here, we're all together. In Yagen's class, there are two other Eritreans. My daughter is also doing fine in school. Her teacher called me and said she would help us. People care”. © Daniel Rolider
Left: Residential buildings in the Hadar neighborhood, Haifa, Israel, March 22, 2021. Right: Yagen (above), 8, and his sister Finot, 6, the children of asylum-seeking parents from Eritrea, climb the gate at the entrance to the alley leading to their home in the Hadar neighborhood, Haifa, Israel, May 2, 2021. The children of asylum seekers born in Israel do not receive citizenship or an Israeli identification number, but are entitled to go to school from ages 3 to 18. © Daniel Rolider
© Daniel Rolider
The view from the Armon Tower towards the Hadar neighborhood and the port of Haifa, Israel, April 12, 2021. Hadar is the most densely populated neighborhood in Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel. Until the 1980s, it was an important commercial and cultural center, before many of the residents and businesses left this part of the city as newer and nicer neighborhoods were built elsewhere. Most of its residents today are ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, and immigrants from the Soviet Union. © Daniel Rolider
Left: The living room corner in Akberet's home, a Christian Orthodox asylum seeker from Eritrea, in the Hadar neighborhood, Haifa, Israel, April 17, 2021. As Eritreans must work according to the Jewish work week, Saturday has become the main day on which holidays and ceremonies are held in the church. Right: Afwerki, 41, sits in the office of “Alef”, an initiative that assists refugees in Haifa and operates under the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC), in the Hadar neighborhood, Israel, March 30, 2021. "The smugglers in Sinai, they tell all kinds of interesting stories. They say, 'You don't have to go to Europe, you should go to Israel, it's the same thing’. You need to pay 700-800 USD to go from Sudan to Egypt. Then, from Egypt to Israel, another 800 USD. So for this much money, what do they not tell people? When you have nowhere to go, you will believe everything. That was a mistake". © Daniel Rolider
Wazema, 2, the youngest daughter of Yohana, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, sleeps in a festive dress for Easter, Haifa, Israel, May 2, 2021. Asylum seekers who came to Israel had to learn Hebrew on the street while looking for a job. However, the children who were born here speak Hebrew fluently. They help their parents to read and write - which is especially crucial when navigating through endless forms and bureaucracy related to their situation. © Daniel Rolider
Andom, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, sits in his barbershop near the Talpiot Market, Haifa, Israel, April 12, 2021. Getting to Norway was Andom’s dream. He left Eritrea at the age of 21. After a week in Ethiopia, he crossed the border into Sudan. One evening, as he was on his way home with another friend, a truck stopped next to him on the street. Several men in uniforms jumped out of the vehicle, beat him up, and forcibly pushed him into the trunk, which was already full of people sitting on top of one another. They drove for three days before stopping. When the trunk reopened, the people seemed to spill out. No one could stand after sitting in such a crowded space for so long. They arrived in Sinai, in the middle of the desert, not far from the Israeli border. The smugglers who abducted them demanded that everyone pays them to transfer them across the border. Those who refused were severely beaten. Left with no choice, Andom crossed into Israel. © Daniel Rolider
Cargo ships outside the port of Haifa, Israel, April 12, 2021. According to sources in the Eritrean community in Haifa, about half of the asylum seekers believe and support the regime of Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea. Some of them are even paying a "loyal tax," a symbolic payment that allegedly guarantees the protection of rights and possession if they choose to return home one day. © Daniel Rolider
Yohana, 24, stands in the alley leading to her home with two of her three children, Yagen and Finot, wearing a festive dress for Easter, Haifa, Israel, May 2, 2021. Yohana met her husband Fokor during their journey: 'We arrived on foot, walked three days to Sudan. From there, we continued to Sinai with the Bedouin. We drove in a small Toyota, in the trunk with 30 other people. One foot outside and one inside. It took about two weeks. At night, we slept an hour or two on the ground. They didn't give us food, only water with gasoline. It’s like vodka, you can drink just a little. There was no food at all". After crossing the border, Yohana lived with her family in Tel Aviv, while Fokor stayed with his brother in Ashkelon. For five months, they kept talking on the phone and met for coffee in Tel Aviv. In 2013, when they moved in together, their eldest son was born. Two years later, they moved to Haifa, where they got married a year later.
Fireworks in celebration of the 73rd Independence Day of the State of Israel, above the roof of a residential building near the Talpiot Market, Haifa, Israel, April 14, 2021. "The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) know you're coming even before you reached the border", recalled Afwerki. “There are night cameras so they can see you. As soon as you enter, they open the spotlights. They are waiting for you with jeeps and flares. They are shouting 'Come here!’, sometimes they speak Arabic, sometimes English. Me, and another guy, did not trust the Arabic we heard so we kept quiet. As someone who was a soldier, it doesn't matter how much they are looking for you, you can always hide at night. So as they drove away, we started walking in the desert and hardly slept. In the end, they did catch us. They arrived in the morning with their jeep and took us to a military base, and from there to another facility. I was there for a month before I was released and taken to Be'er Sheva". © Daniel Rolider

Photographer: Daniel Rolider
Nationality: Israeli 
Based in: Israel
Website: www.danielrolider.com
Instagram: @daniel_rolider

Daniel Rolider is a photojournalist and visual storyteller whose work focuses on environmental and social issues. Born and raised in Kiryat Tivon, Israel, he began his career after completing his mandatory military service as a marine mechanic in the Israeli Navy, and has since worked for the New York Times, Getty Images, ESPN, and Stern, covering stories from his home country. His work has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Libération, Der Spiegel, and Haaretz, and has been     exhibited in museums and galleries in Israel, the US, China, France, and Greece