The Bill to Prevent Infiltration, a central tenet of Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s new policy on illegal immigration, was expected to pass its second
and third (final) readings in the Knesset late Monday night.
legislation, which was still being discussed in the plenum at press time, would
allow the state to deport some illegal immigrants – and hold in custody the
immigrants it cannot deport for more than three years without a
Speaking in Monday’s Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said he was
going forward with the bill, along with a border fence near Eilat and the
deportation of foreign workers, to solve the infiltration problem in
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin pointed out that there were
similar laws in many other countries, and said that the legislation would give
the cabinet tools to deal with the current situation.
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registered long lists of reservations on the bill, with Hadash planning to speak
for seven hours, Meretz for almost four, and Kadima for two hours and 20
Elkin predicted that the debate in the plenum, which started
late because it was the 12th item on the agenda, would continue until Tuesday
Two weeks ago, The Jerusalem Post obtained a letter from William
Tall, a representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) in Israel, to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, which explained
that the UN office is concerned that the bill “could constitute a breach of
Israel’s rights and obligations as stipulated in the UN Convention for Refugees,
for which Israel was a founding signatory.”
The UNHCR representative
noted that the legislation’s explanatory portion said it did not seek to defy
the UN Convention. However, Tall said he sought to ensure the bill was amended
to specify that it did not apply to those who fell under the UN’s definition of
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