Israel Cracks Down On Illegal Immigration
Israeli officials have announced new measures aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, a little more than a week after a protest against African immigrants in Tel Aviv turned violent.
The Israeli government said it would speed up the deportation of some 25,000 illegal immigrants, mostly from Sudan, reports Russia Today. Plans are in place to deport at least 700 illegals in the country in the coming days.
“Whoever can be sent away should be sent away from here as quickly as possible,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, adding that “it’s clear that we cannot return Sudanese and Eritreans to their countries.”
Approximately 35,000 of the 60,000 illegals living in Israel are refugees from Somalia, Eritria, and Sudan, who cannot be deported due the conditions in their countries.
However, a new law that went into effect on Sunday allows the Israeli government to detain illegal immigrants without trial or deportation for up to three years, reports Reuters. The controversial law was passed in January, to the outcry of liberal politicians and human rights activists.
The developments took place after some 1,000 Israelis staged a violent protest against illegal immigration in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Haktiva on May 23. Windows of businesses serving the immigrant community were smashed, and Black people were targeted for violence.
Several days later on May 28, Israeli troops fired on 24 African immigrants as they attempted to enter the country illegally from Egypt, reports the European Jewish Press. Three of the “infiltrators” were wounded in the incident, according to a government spokeswoman.
Following Sunday’s announcement, an arson attack on a Jerusalem building injured four people from Eritrea who were living inside, reports the BBC. Graffiti outside the building read “we want the foreigners out” in Hebrew. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the building was “targeted specifically” because it was home to African immigrants.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, told the newspaper Maariv on Friday he saw the African arrivals, many of whom are Muslims or Christians, as a demographic threat.
“The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream,” Yishai said, adding that Israel had its own health and welfare issues. “We don’t need to import more problems from Africa.”
“Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man,” Yishai said in the interview with Maariv.
Aryeh Eldad, a right-wing lawmaker, urged Israel to order its troops to open fire on any infiltrators who penetrated its borders, rather than only at those suspected of being armed.
Dov Henin, a left-wing legislator, said the measures Israel was taking against the migrants were “immoral,” echoing the opinions of Israelis who feel that Jews, often victims of persecution in the past, should show compassion to the migrants.