African migrants take part in a protest against Israel's detention policy toward them.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Police for the first time in five years have released crime data on Eritrean and Sudanese migrants, according to Ynet.
The report on Sunday said that there were 543 cases opened cases on Eritrean and Sudanese migrants for violent offenses, 402 for property offenses, and 72 for sex offenses in 2017.
Proportionally, there are more cases opened for members of the Eritrean and Sudanese population than the general population and the rest of migrants. The migrant group was accused of 4.3 times more sex offenses, three times more property offenses and 3.4 times more violent offenses than the general public.
While this is startling, it was not clear from the data whether this stemmed from police accusing more migrants of crimes or because these migrants are actually committing more crimes. The Ynet report did not show the number of convicted criminals, only the number of opened cases.
In the past, police released crime data for all migrants but have not given the public a break down for the data by country of origin. Within the migrant data, the numbers of foreign workers and tourists were included as well.
The police lumped all of this data together because “based on past experience, the Israel Police found that when these figures relate to the rifts in Israeli society, they may lead people to classify certain populations in terms of crime and harm,” the police told Ynet.
“Labeling of this kind may harm public safety and security as a result of the population’s reactions to the labeling,” the police continued. The police also referenced the Freedom of Information Law, saying that they had previously refused to release the information because “a public authority shall not provide information which in its disclosure is liable to harm the security of the state and the public.”
In spite of all this, the police decided to release the data this year. However, the numbers did not include the number of opened murder cases, only violent offenses that did not result in death.
“The time has come to put an end to all the false information that is disseminated on the subject,” director of the Israeli Immigration Policy Center Yonatan Yakobovich told Ynet, adding that the figures received from the Israel Police prove unequivocally that crime rates among infiltrators are much higher than their share of the population in all categories that affect the sense of security of Israeli citizens.
THE TOPIC of migrant crime has been in the public spotlight because of murders like that of Silvana Tsegai, a 12-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker,
who was found dead by her mother in their apartment in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv in late November.
There were 37,885 persons defined as “infiltrators” in Israel as of September 2017, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These are mostly Eritrean and Sudanese who “enter Israel through an unrecognized border entry point.”
“We are in a situation where there is no government policy,” Yuval Hayo, deputy director-general of the State Comptroller’s Office told Ynet. “On the one hand, asylum-seekers are not expelled, but on the other hand, [Israelis] do not recognize their existence. This is an issue that is both constitutional and moral, which obligates us as a state to relate in some way to the public that is doing the most laborsome work here. These are people who sit among us and they are human beings, but we do not recognize their existence – and the daily expression of this is terrible.”
The data was released to Ynet by the Israeli Immigration Policy Center (IIPC) via the Freedom of Information Law, which allows any citizen to request and receive information from public authorities.
The IIPC is a conservative nonprofit whose mission is to “promote immigration policy which serves the strategic interests of the State of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state.” In February, the center said that it supports the government's position to deport migrants
and believes that claims against the deportations are misguided.
“The reports that we are seeing that people are being sent to their deaths or torture in Rwanda or Uganda are absolutely and unequivocally false,” said the center’s spokesman Yonatan Jakubowicz.
International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International
and Hotline for Refugees and Migrants disagree.
“We know from numerous testimonies that the refugees who are sent to Rwanda are tortured and not given any security, status or work permits, so they must continue with their asylum journey,” said Dror Sadot, spokeswoman
for the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.
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