MK backs ‘infiltrators law’ which ‘saved Israel’

Knesset "caucus to return African infiltrators" holds first meeting; Yishai vows to work to return all asylum seekers to their countries.

AYELET SHAKED 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Israel must take steps to return African “infiltrators” to their home countries, even if it means being the subject of international criticism, Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked said Monday during the first meeting of the Knesset “caucus to return infiltrators to their country.”
Shaked mentioned a hearing on Tuesday at the High Court to discuss a petition by NGOs against the so-called “infiltrators law,” which she said “saved the country from a crawling conquest.”
“I want to believe that the High Court will not take the Israeli legislature lightly and will dismiss the petition,” Shaked added.
The infiltrators law, passed last year, allows Israel to jail for up to three years people who enter the country illegally.
The law has been the subject of controversy, in that as a signatory of international agreements on asylum seekers, Israel has pledged to allow freedom of movement to people seeking refugee within its borders.
Transfers were met with criticism by Israeli and foreign NGOs dealing with African asylum seekers, who maintain that no return can be willful if the only alternative is to stay in detention.
The meeting was held after a week in which the Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein ordered a stop to all transfers of Eritreans out of the country from Israel’s detention centers.
Also last week, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Israel had returned around 2,000 north Sudanese to their country over the past year, during a presentation of the findings of a task force on African migrants he launched last year.
Yishai vowed that Israel would work to return all the Africans to their home countries, despite the fact that Eritrean and Sudanese migrants face the possibility of persecution if returned to their home countries.
Other MKs who took part in the meeting Monday included Yariv Levine (Likud), Asher Ya’acov (UTJ), Shuli Muallem (Bayit Yehudi), Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi), Mordechai Yogev (Bayit Yehudi), Moshe Feiglin (Likud), and head of the Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority, Amnon Ben-Ami, as well as representatives of neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv, where the majority of Israel’s over 60,000 African migrants live.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the “My Israel” group Shaked launched before running for the Knesset.
In a statement put out after the meeting, Ben-Ami is quoted as saying about the return of around 2,000 north Sudanese “despite all the shouting heard about the mortal danger to those returning, we don’t know of any cases like this.”
Before she entered the Knesset as a freshman MK with Bayit Yehudi, Shaked ran an Israel advocacy organization called “My Israel”, which also protested against the growing African migrant population in Israel.
In a post on the organization’s Facebook page from March of last year, a doctored photo shows African men raising an Eritrean flag with the caption “Eilat is in our hands,” next to the text of a letter by an Eilat resident frustrated by the large population of African migrants in her community.