Minister: Israel taking steps to deport infiltrators

Neeman says hoping to return migrants to home countries, 3rd-party countries; MKs slam gov't, court policy in c'tee meeting.

May 21, 2012 12:46
1 minute read.
Eritrean migrants, Sinai

Eritrean migrants, Sinai_311. (photo credit: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)


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Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Monday said that Israel is taking steps to deport infiltrators from Israel, adding that all branches of government are working to eliminate the "scourge" from the country.

Speaking at a law conference in Eilat, Neeman said that Israel is employing a multi-pronged strategy, which includes "building of a fence along the Egyptian border, which is in its final stages... the deportation of migrants... and the establishment of facilities to house them until they can be dealt with."

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"Israel is taking steps to kick the infiltrators out of Israel at the first available opportunity," Neeman said, adding his hope that they would be returned to either their home countries or to third-party countries.

Also Monday, in a stormy meeting of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers, MKs slammed government and court policy on foreign infiltrators, demanding a solution to influx of African migrants in south Tel Aviv.

The session opened with the lone voice in support of the infiltrators, committee chairman MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who condemned the government as racist, calling for a "new, responsible policy" to cope with the problem. "Your right-wing government has not done anything except make racist statements," Horowitz said, calling existing policy a "total failure" and placing blame on Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) for the problem.

The rest of the Knesset committee displayed less sympathy for the migrants than Horowitz, with MK Danny Danon (Likud) calling them "enemies," MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) saying they represent a "social time-bomb," and MK Dov Henin (Hadash) calling the situation a "crisis" and a "catastrophe."

The committee invited Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi to give input on the situation in the southern part of her city. "The refugees settled in weaker places where they can live for less money," she said. "I have no doubt that the best thing to do is to move them to places around Israel and not keep them in the weak places like south Tel Aviv."

Police representatives at the committee were pessimistic about the prospect of solving the issue, saying that they are reinforcing the problem areas with extra units, but adding that there is no solution in the foreseeable future.

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