25,000 migrants to be sent to prison-run facility

Defense Ministry hopes to start transferring migrants who cross the border illegally to newly established installations next week.

Anti-migrant spraypaint 370 (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Anti-migrant spraypaint 370
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
The Defense Ministry will begin construction of facilities next week that will be able to hold 20,000-25,000 African migrants ahead of their deportation from Israel, an official statement said on Thursday.
The project will include the construction of five different facilities in southern Israel that will be managed by the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) and the Interior Ministry.
The Defense Ministry said that the facilities will be used to house anyone who infiltrates Israel starting next week.
The statement said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave the defense ministry the job of establishing large-scale living installations, to be run by the IPS, because of its experience in completing major national projects on an emergent basis.
The program was presented to the prime minister Thursday afternoon.
The installations are being designed to permit holding the migrants in the designated locations even for an extended period in order to prevent them from dispersing throughout the country.
In the immediate future, the defense ministry expects to complete three new installations near Kitziot in the south, as part of the pre-existing IPS prison installations in that location.
The statement said that all possible efforts would be made, within the limits of the short deadline given to the project, to bring the living standards in the new installations in line with those required according to applicable regulations, including with regard to water and electricity.
Meanwhile, the defense ministry, with the assistance of the IDF, continues to move forward with another major construction project to address the migrant issue.
The statement said that the construction of the fence on the Egyptian border is moving forward at an accelerated rate. As of October, 95 percent of the fence will be completed. To date, more than 170 kilometers of the fence between Ein Kerem to Shalom Netafim have been built.
The remainder of the fence runs through the mountains near Eilat. Over 100 contractors are working on the fence, finishing an additional kilometer of fence each day.
The project is scheduled to be finished sometime in early 2013.
In related developments, the Interior Ministry has informed South Sudanese migrants that they have one week to voluntarily leave Israel.
Should the migrants take up the offer, they will receive 1000 Euros and a flight ticket home courtesy of the State of Israel, a senior source said. After the weekpasses, the migrants will be arrested and expelled.
Yaakov Katz and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.