PM calls for immigration crackdown

Aharonovitch: Tenth of Eilatis are illegal aliens.

July 19, 2010 03:30
3 minute read.
Netanyahu cabinet meeting

Netanyahu cabinet 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The “flood” of illegal African workers who have infiltrated the country over the last few years via Egypt is threatening the Jewish, democratic nature of the state, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet on Sunday.

Netanyahu’s comments came during a cabinet discussion on formulating a comprehensive policy regarding migration into Israel. The discussion will continue on Monday.

Yishai denies plans to deport 800 children of foreign workers
Rabbis: Don't rent to foreign workers
Crackdown on illegal foreign workers also targets employers
Analysis: A Srulik from Thailand
Opinion: Genocide in Darfur, persecution in Israel

The cabinet was presented with data stating that between 26,000 and 155,000 illegal economic migrants have come into the country via the long border with Egypt over the past few years. Netanyahu said this was a “concrete threat” that “most enlightened Western countries” facing a similar problem have already taken steps to combat.

The huge discrepancy in the numbers is because while there are some 26,000 documented infiltrators, the police estimate that the true number is more than five times that.

“It is inconceivable that precisely in Israel, which is without a doubt the most threatened state in the Western world, there is no governmental migration policy that protects our national and security interests,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said that the issue has not been dealt with for years, and that he wanted to bring legislation dealing with the matter to the Knesset in the fall. He said that in the near future, after a committee headed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman issues recommendations, the cabinet will make the decisions needed to deal with the issue.

This will include, he said, clamping down on employers hiring the migrant workers, arranging for the deportation of infiltrators to their countries of origin or third countries, and the construction of a barrier along the Egyptian border to make infiltration more difficult.

Netanyahu has been talking about building the barrier along the 240-kilometer border with Sinai for months, and in March the cabinet even approved it, but so far little has moved on the ground.

One government official said that deporting the infiltrators is especially difficult, because most of them come from Eritrea or Sudan. Israel has no diplomatic relations with Sudan, and therefore no way to deport the infiltrators.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who filled in at the meeting for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was attending a conference in Kazakhstan, said that Israel had approached third countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, about taking in the deported workers, but it seemed unlikely they would do so. He also said that Israel has been in contact with the UN over the matter.

Statistics presented to the cabinet showed that of 3,500 infiltrators who were studied, only two were bona fide political refugees. The rest were here looking for better economic prospects.

The cabinet was told that the average salary a day laborer earns in Egypt, the country through which the Africans come into Israel, is NIS 4, while the average daily salary here is NIS 154.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told the ministers there are about 3 million Africans illegally in Egypt, and that there was real concern that many of them would try to infiltrate Israel. He said a whole industry has developed in Egypt to smuggle these people into Israel.

Aharonovitch said that from the beginning of the year, around 7,000 people have been smuggled across the border with Egypt, and that about 1,200 come across each month.

The three cities with the largest number of illegal workers are Tel Aviv, Arad and Eilat, he said, with the illegals making up fully 10 percent of Eilat’s population.

The new favored destination, he said, was Ashdod.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town