A group of Israel Prize laureates, academics and other public figures called Thursday on the nation’s leaders to stop “governmental incitement against foreign asylum seekers.”

In a petition signed by former minister Shulamit Aloni, sculptor Micha Ullman and author Hanoch Bartov, among others, the group wrote that Israel has a right to construct a fence on its southern border and to decide who may enter its gates, but that “a policy of zero immigration and zero refugees is unethical,” reported Israel Radio.

The group urged that asylum seekers who cannot be repatriated to their countries of origin be temporarily integrated into the Israeli workforce. The petition also noted the fact that most of the country’s founders were refugees.