Yishai: Ban soldiers from contact with migrants

After soldier killed in Egypt border attack, interior minister says soldiers shouldn't endanger lives for sake of African migrants.

September 23, 2012 10:05
1 minute read.
Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)


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Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Sunday that the army should forbid soldiers from making contact with African migrants arriving at the Israel-Egypt border.

"The IDF should advance a clear order forbidding soldiers making contact with infiltrators," Yishai said, making a comparison between the proposed change to a ban on soldiers hitchhiking.

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"The screams of human rights organizations are preferable to the screams of bereaved families," the interior minister expounded.

Yishai's comments came after 20-year-old Artillery Corps soldier Corporal Netanel Yahalomi was shot in the head and killed by terrorists on Friday while his unit was giving water to African migrants who had arrived on the Israel-Egypt border Friday afternoon. A second solider was wounded in the attack.

Yishai has been vocal in the past against allowing illegal African migrants entrance to Israel, saying that all African migrants and asylum seekers should be jailed, put in detention centers or given repatriation grants and claiming that most of them are engaged in criminal activity.

On Thursday activists protested in front of the interior minister's home in Jerusalem, asking him to reexamine his position on African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, Israel Radio reported.

Yishai said in response to the protest that he will continue working to send all of the migrants back to their country, claiming he has the State of Israel's best interest at heart.


Following the terrorist attack on IDF soldiers on Friday, the army instructed its soldiers on Sunday to be more alert when aiding African migrants. A military official told Israeli Radio that it is hard to make the distinction between terrorists and migrants and that in the past year there was an increase in terrorist attack warnings from the Sinai Peninsula.

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