Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) on Monday reiterated his stance regarding health risks posed by illegal migrants, clarifying that it was principally the Sudanese who presented a public health threat, as some of them were infected with AIDS and tuberculosis.
On a Saturday night television broadcast Yisahi quoted Public Security Minister Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beiteinu), according to whom "hundreds of thousands of foreign workers with hepatitis, tuberculosis, measles, AIDS and drug problems [are on the way to Israel]." He added that the million or more of these migrants who might infiltrate the country would posed a threat to the Zionist enterprise.
Yishai stressed on Monday that the information regarding the health risks posed by illegal foreigners was taken from Aharonovitch, and that the minister drew his information from professional sources.
Aharonovitch conveyed a statement to Army Radio during the course of the interview and claimed that Yishai had misquoted him.
Regarding the expulsion of illegal migrant children, Yishai said that they number close to 20,000 in Israel, and hail from countries including Sudan, Eritrea and Sri Lanka. Some of these children's parents are entering the country illegally, he said, and therefore are officially unknown by government registries.
The "true dilemma," facing Israel, Yishai continued, was that of illegal children born in the country. This is the most difficult aspect facing the illegal resident question, he explained, going on to say that while deportations occurred under the former and present governments, Israel could reach a point where hundreds of thousands of illegals are residing in the country.
While he acknowledged that it is not possible to rid the country of illegals in one swoop, Yishai said he would like to see an eventual return of Israeli workers to the industries of agriculture, building and other areas presently dominated by foreign workers.