Children on the Run: The Reception and Integration of Unaccompanied Minors in Israel and Germany

Hannes Käckmeister, Hadas Yaron Mesgena - Journal of Refugee Studies


Over the past 20 years both Israel and Germany have become destination countries for unaccompanied minors (UM), albeit at different speeds and scales and in contrasting geopolitical settings. This article compares the reception and integration of UM in the two countries with a particular focus on their access to education and employment. The movement of UM over borders goes hand in hand with the drawing of legal, ideological, and conceptual boundaries within these two countries that discriminate between citizens and foreigners. However, the answers provided by the respective migration regimes could not be more different, even though both countries are signatories to the relevant international conventions on UM: while in Germany the primacy of child and youth welfare is applied, the Israeli authorities consider UM as illegal ‘infiltrators’ and a threat to national security and the Jewish State.