Population and Immigration Authority threatened over migrant deportation

Red paint was splattered across the doorway to the downtown Tel Aviv office with notes that read “It will not pass quietly, it’s only the beginning,” and “Their blood is on your hands."

January 28, 2018 20:30
2 minute read.
Severed heads and red paint are found outside the entrance the Ministry of Economy office in Tel Avi

Severed heads and red paint are found outside the entrance the Ministry of Economy office in Tel Aviv, January 2018. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The entrance to the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority was vandalized Saturday night with fake blood, severed mannequin heads and threatening notes warning against the government’s impending deportation of thousands of African refugees.

Red paint was splattered across the Plexiglas doorway to the downtown Tel Aviv office with notes on the floor that read: “It will not pass quietly,” “It’s only the beginning” and “Their blood is on your hands.”

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No other damage was reported and police said an investigation has been opened.

The Authority released a statement calling the vandalism “a despicable act of insanity.”

“Today a red line was crossed, and this is where it ends,” it said. “A complaint has been filed with the police and the cowards will be caught.”

The forced deportations or indefinite imprisonment of the nation’s 38,000 Sudanese and Eritrean refugees that are scheduled to begin in April, have been met by numerous campaigns by human-rights organizations.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Arye Deri and Culture Minister Miri Regev have castigated the refugees as “infiltrators” and “criminals,” a growing movement has emerged that opposes the deportations as being inhumane and antithetical to Jewish values.

On Sunday, Authority Director General Shlomo Mor-Yosef said that only single Sudanese and Eritrean men considered “economic migrants” will be deported, while women and children will be allowed to remain in the country, Haaretz reported.

Moreover, Mor-Yosef claimed that comparisons between the African refugees and Jews seeking asylum during the Holocaust are “foolish and manipulative,” and insisted that those to be deported are not refugees and will not be sent to their deaths.

Despite stating that no action will be taken against refugees until their asylum applications are reviewed, the Authority has yet to review more than 13,000 applications, and has only granted asylum to 11 Eritreans and Sudanese since 2013.

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), former chairwoman of the Special Committee for Foreign Workers, said she will vote this week in the Knesset plenum for the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry on the country’s deportation policy.

Rozin said the committee will ask to investigate any secret deportation agreements the government has with a third country; the policy of not examining the asylum requests of Eritreans and Sudanese; and the rehabilitation of south Tel Aviv, where the vast majority of refugees live.

“As elected officials we have an obligation to conduct ourselves in a clear, transparent and practical manner vis-àvis the public that chose us,” Rozin said. “The conduct of the state, as it has been portrayed so far, casts doubt on the proper administration of government systems. Therefore, I would like to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry to investigate the government’s policy regarding the issue of the expulsion of asylum-seekers.”

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