The prime minister announced a new task force to deal with the tens of thousands of illegal African migrants who have taken over south Tel Aviv.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the “problem of illegal infiltrators,” referring to the influx of migrants from African countries who are generally not asylum seekers and instead seek greater economic and employment prospects in Israel.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu visited south Tel Aviv together with Ministers Gilad Erdan and Miri Regev and Member of Knesset Amir Ohana, where they met with residents and heard about their experiences related to the matter. “I accompanied 72-year-old Sophia to the sixth floor of the building in which she lives, all of which is now, except for her, and if I am not mistaken, perhaps another tenant, inhabited by illegal infiltrators. … [S]he cannot go unescorted, and she goes back up at the end of the day with great difficulty,” Netanyahu lamented, referring to the significant increase in violent crime since the infiltration.
After the visit, Netanyahu announced the creation of “a special ministerial team” to meet with resident representatives “to advance practical solutions to this problem,” “to return these neighborhoods to the residents,” and “to remove [illegal infiltrators] from the State of Israel, as we have already removed some 20,000 illegal infiltrators, whose place is not here.”
The prime minister told the cabinet meeting that few are refugees; rather, “they are illegal migrant labor infiltrators in the State of Israel. And we have the right, as in every country, to supervise our borders and remove from our borders anyone who is illegally here.”
The problem of illegal African migrants remains a hot button issue, with several recent Supreme Court rulings generating controversy.
Netanyahu explained to his cabinet: “We reached a rate of about 20,000 infiltrators per year. Without building the fence we would easily have reached at least 100,000 a year in view of what is happening in Africa. Meaning that within a decade, and we are soon approaching the end of that decade, the state would stop being the Jewish state.”
Stopping the influx of migrants is only one side of Israel’s response, as the tiny nation is also heavily involved in humanitarian and economic efforts to address the underlying issues that contribute to the infiltrator crisis. “We have already created the foundation in my visits to Africa and in my conversations with African leaders. We have created a base of countries willing to absorb these infiltrators, and now we may have to improve not only the legislation, but also the agreements,” Netanyahu noted.
By: Ezra Stone, World Israel News