Rivlin and US envoy Shapiro 370.
(photo credit: Itzik Harari, Knesset Spokesman's Office)
The government must find a solution to the migrant issue, Knesset Speaker Reuven
Rivlin said on Thursday, in a meeting with US Ambassador Dan
“There is no doubt that the State of Israel has a serious
problem connected to infiltrators and refuge-seekers, and the government must
find a solution,” Rivlin said.
According to Rivlin, there is constant
tension between the need to protect national and social interests, and Jewish
sentiment and morals, which seek to protect the weak.
The Knesset speaker
expressed disapproval of the atmosphere in Wednesday night’s protest in Tel
Aviv, saying that demonstrations are valid, but they cannot turn into
“We cannot use the kind of language anti-Semites use about
us,” he stated. “We are a nation that suffered from incitement and harassment,
so we must be especially sensitive and moral.”
The real problem, Rivlin
added, is not refugees and infiltrators; rather it is the lack of a clear
The Knesset speaker also criticized MK Miri Regev
(Likud), who said in the plenum on Wednesday that “infiltrators are spreading
like a cancer,” suggesting that it would have been better if she had demanded
the government find solutions to the problem.
“The rage of residents and
business-owners in south Tel Aviv is understandable, but when the mob is angry,
leaders must rein in the rage and find solutions, instead of fanning the
flames,” Rivlin said.
Also on Thursday, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On
said that the economic interests of manpower parties, which lost money due to
the influx of migrant workers, stand behind the “wave of incitement and hatred
of foreigners displayed by [Interior Minister] Eli Yishai and Likud
“Meretz identifies with the suffering of the people in southern Tel
Aviv neighborhoods, which arrived long before the immigrants and refugees,” she
stated. “This is the result of a Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
discriminatory economic policies.”
Gal-On added that, as a nation that
suffered in exile, Israel must show compassion and sensitivity towards the
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that, following the
attacks in south Tel Aviv, the humanitarian thing to do is to save the migrants
by sending them back where they came from.
“After over 60,000
infiltrators from Africa, rape, robbery and murder, suddenly Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein started talking about deportation,” Ben-Ari stated on
Thursday. “We are sick of talking, sick of promises. We want deportation