African migrants sit at the Holot open detention center in the Negev in Southern Israel.
(photo credit: FINBARR O'REILLY / REUTERS)
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has denounced a petition by Doctors for Human Rights that appeared in newspapers criticizing “voluntary return of migrants” to their countries. The letter was sent to Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, head of the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, who previously was director-general of the National Insurance Institute.
In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the acting health minister, and Interior Minister Arye Deri, Litzman rejected the doctors’ claim that sending the migrants home was “among the most serious harms against mankind” and countered the doctor’s oath. The sentiments in the petition “do not represent the health system in Israel,” he said.
Litzman said the attempt by the liberal doctors to portray themselves as “the exclusive group concerned with compassion” and claiming that the government “neglects foreigners and cruelly casts them out” was incorrect and objectionable.
These were migrants who illegally entered Israel, and any sovereign state has a right to send away foreigners who reside here illegally, he said.
Each of them receives $3,500 in cash, and the cost of their flight is covered.
Only unmarried men of working age would be sent away and not women, children and parents, Litzman said. The authorities have checked and found that these men “do not face danger in their native or third countries or have not applied at all for refuge in Israel,” he said.
Various articles have appeared recently in the Hebrew press with interviews of former African migrants who claimed their lives were in danger after returning to Africa.