After Eritrean riots, Israeli government proposes sweeping illegal immigration law

New bill proposes blanket ban on granting refugee status to people who enter Israel illegally, overstay their visas.

By World Israel News Staff

Following widespread rioting by Eritrean illegal immigrants in Tel Aviv, MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party) is proposing a new law which would ease the authorities’ ability to deport them.

On Saturday, clashes between supporters of the current Eritrean government and those opposed to it spilled over into violence, with bloody scenes of mass beatings, stabbings, and even a migrant brandishing a gun shocked the Israeli public.

Rothman, a legal scholar and one of the chief architects of the judicial reform legislation, has drafted a new bill, called the Basic Law: Entry, immigration, and status in Israel.

This measure would create strict guidelines for naturalization of residents of Israel who are not eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return, which automatically grants citizenship to Jews.

It provides a quota for the maximum number of people granted refugee status each year, and specifies that those who entered Israel illegally or overstayed the visas will be banned from ever receiving refugee status.

The law also states that people without legal status in Israel can no longer petition the local courts to rule on whether or not they should be granted residency. However, an Israeli citizen or resident may file such a suit on their behalf.

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Because Rothman drafted the bill as a Basic Law, it would supersede all other legislation related to the topic. It’s unclear when and if the bill will be placed on the Knesset agenda for a vote.

The Eritrean rioters caused millions of shekels of property damage to nearby businesses, smashing their street-front facades and in some cases, looting the shops and restaurants.

Beyond clashing with their political rivals, the Eritreans also attacked police. One officer was severely wounded and underwent brain surgery after being struck in the head with a camping stove, pieces of which were embedded in his skull.

Police eventually were forced to use live fire to quell the protesters, marking the first time that security forces fired at demonstrators since 2000, and at least 11 Eritreans suffered gunshot wounds.