Knesset members who spoke at Wednesday night’s rally against African migrants
incited crowds to hatred of foreigners and exploited legitimate concerns to
stoke crude xenophobia, a former senior policeman warned Thursday.
(ret.) Moshe Mizrahi, who heads a Labor Party committee on African migrants and
served as the former head of the police’s investigations branch, said he was
highly concerned about an escalation of further violence.
The MKs who
spoke at the rally “are pouring fuel on an area where residents are already
dealing with serious problems,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The worst part is
that Sudanese and Eritreans are now being blamed for all [the country’s] ills,
though it is this government and its predecessors who are responsible for
failing to deal with the entry of migrants.”
During the event, Likud MK
Danny Danon, chairman of the “Deportation Now” movement, called the migrants “a
national plague” and said that “we must deport them immediately before it’s too
He added that “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an
enemy state composed of infiltrators.”
Fellow Likud MK Miri Regev
described the illegal migrants as a “cancer.”
“This is really disturbing
to any Zionist and Jew,” said Mizrahi. “It is populism of the lowest kind. They
are exploiting the real distress of residents.
And I say this without
[trying to minimize] the urgency of finding a solution to the migrant problem,
which is severe.”
He added that “these same Knesset members belong to the
helpless government that abandoned the residents of south Tel Aviv. Now they are
fueling the flames instead of focusing on the role they were elected to carry
out, finding a tangible solution to the problem.”
Attempting to portray
migrants as rapists and thieves is also a dangerous distortion of the facts,
Mizrahi argued, saying that Sudanese and Eritrean migrants were not mentioned
once during a series of violent crimes carried out by Israelis earlier this
Responding to Mizrahi’s comments, Danon said, “I emphatically
oppose violence by infiltrators and toward infiltrators, but I am for immediate
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), who also spoke at the
rally, said he would be happy to teach Mizrahi about democracy, and accused the
former police officer of forgetting “about the importance of freedom of
“I am proud that the Knesset is finally paying attention to the
infiltrator problem,” Ben- Ari added.
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