Bill to curb migration to face final Knesset vote

Opposition plans filibuster; poll shows 53% of public supports bill; Sa'ar: Government is responsible for protecting borders.

African migrants transport vegetables in south Tel Aviv 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
African migrants transport vegetables in south Tel Aviv 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s Entry to Israel Bill, nicknamed the “Infiltrators Bill,” will go for its second and third (final) readings Monday night, as lawmakers brace themselves for a long night of voting.
As part of the opposition’s ongoing fight against the legislation, lawmakers have signed up to give more than 100 speeches on items on Monday’s agenda, as part of an attempt to filibuster the bill meant to curb illegal migration from Africa.
The new Entry to Israel Bill comes after the Supreme Court canceled its previous version in September, saying it was disproportionate.
The legislation going to a vote reduces the maximum amount of time a migrant can be kept in a detention facility without a trial, from three years to one year.
The migrants will be provided with food, drink, health services and a place to sleep in the holding facility – run by the Public Security Ministry and Prison Services – that will now be open during the day. The detention center will be closed at night and there will be head counts, which the Interior Ministry says will help it make sure the migrants aren’t illegally employed.
In addition, the government plans to enforce laws against employing migrants.
A Knesset Channel poll, conducted by the Dahaf Institute, found on Thursday that 53 percent of Jewish Israelis support Sa’ar’s plan to detain migrants for a year without a trial, though 35% do not.
The same amount of Israelis (53%) do not think that the fact that Jews were not accepted as refugees in many places in the world before the establishment of the state should influence decisions on whether or not to accept migrants. However, 40% would keep history in mind.
In addition, 84% of Israelis believe that work migrants’ entry to Israel endangers the country and only 12% disagree.
Over half (59%) of Israelis think that children born to migrants in Israel should not have a different status from their parents.
“The equation is cruel and simple. If Israel decides to be the most liberal country in the West when it comes to illegal infiltrators, it will bring an end to the only Jewish State,” Sa’ar said when the bill was brought to the plenum for its first reading.
The Interior Minister said: “It’s our responsibility, not that of human rights organizations or the courts, to protect our borders, our character and our future. That’s the elected government’s responsibility.”