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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday warned that ongoing illegal African immigration posed a threat to Israel, and announced that he will ask the government to endorse a plan to erect a barrier along Israel's border with Egypt to prevent infiltration from Africa.
The barrier is meant to prevent an expected "flood" of African immigrants seeking jobs in Israel, Netanyahu said.
According to Netanyahu's plan, border guards and electronic systems will safeguard the proposed barrier, which will be partly above ground. In addition to the barrier, the government will work to increase law enforcement against employers who hire illegal foreign workers.
Addressing the Manufacturers Association General Assembly, Netanyahu warned that African immigrants infiltrating Israel from Egypt were changing the "demographic landscape" in Israel.
"I don't know if you have been to Eilat and have seen what's going on there. In Tel Aviv there are places you wouldn't recognize, this is something that must be stopped," Netanyahu said.
The problems are accumulating and could have disastrous implications if they are not solved, the prime minister warned. "One of the problems is the result of Israel's successful economy- the economy is currently considered as developed, and in international comparisons we are weathering the financial crisis better than almost all the developed countries. The outcome is that we are rising up towards the First World. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in the Third World," Netanyahu explained.
"Some of the states and economies in our area are suffering immensely. That is the reason for the attraction- our economy is growing, and in the process attracts people from underdeveloped countries. In fact, Israel is the first and only country that people from the most economically deprived countries in the world can reach by foot," Netanyahu said.
"The illegal immigration of illegal workers to Israel may increase, changing our demographic landscape," Netanyahu added, warning of "negative" social, cultural and national implications.
"It must be stopped," he concluded.