Israel must take steps to return African “infiltrators” to their home countries,
even if it means being the subject of international criticism, Bayit Yehudi MK
Ayelet Shaked said Monday during the first meeting of the Knesset “caucus to
return infiltrators to their country.”
Shaked mentioned a hearing on
Tuesday at the High Court to discuss a petition by NGOs against the so-called
“infiltrators law,” which she said “saved the country from a crawling
“I want to believe that the High Court will not take the
Israeli legislature lightly and will dismiss the petition,” Shaked
The infiltrators law, passed last year, allows Israel to jail for
up to three years people who enter the country illegally.
The law has
been the subject of controversy, in that as a signatory of international
agreements on asylum seekers, Israel has pledged to allow freedom of movement to
people seeking refugee within its borders.
Transfers were met with
criticism by Israeli and foreign NGOs dealing with African asylum seekers, who
maintain that no return can be willful if the only alternative is to stay in
The meeting was held after a week in which the Attorney-
General Yehuda Weinstein ordered a stop to all transfers of Eritreans out of the
country from Israel’s detention centers.
Also last week, Interior
Minister Eli Yishai said Israel had returned around 2,000 north Sudanese to
their country over the past year, during a presentation of the findings of a
task force on African migrants he launched last year.
Yishai vowed that
Israel would work to return all the Africans to their home countries, despite
the fact that Eritrean and Sudanese migrants face the possibility of persecution
if returned to their home countries.
Other MKs who took part in the
meeting Monday included Yariv Levine (Likud), Asher Ya’acov (UTJ), Shuli Muallem
(Bayit Yehudi), Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), Mordechai Yogev (Bayit Yehudi),
Moshe Feiglin (Likud), and head of the Population, Immigration, and Borders
Authority, Amnon Ben-Ami, as well as representatives of neighborhoods in south
Tel Aviv, where the majority of Israel’s over 60,000 African migrants
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the “My Israel”
group Shaked launched before running for the Knesset.
In a statement put
out after the meeting, Ben-Ami is quoted as saying about the return of around
2,000 north Sudanese “despite all the shouting heard about the mortal danger to
those returning, we don’t know of any cases like this.”
entered the Knesset as a freshman MK with Bayit Yehudi, Shaked ran an Israel
advocacy organization called “My Israel”, which also protested against the
growing African migrant population in Israel.
In a post on the
organization’s Facebook page from March of last year, a doctored photo shows
African men raising an Eritrean flag with the caption “Eilat is in our hands,”
next to the text of a letter by an Eilat resident frustrated by the large
population of African migrants in her community.