Netanyahu: Israel could be overrun by African infiltrators (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Talila Nesher 05/21/12)
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that the "phenomenon
of illegal infiltrators from Africa is extremely serious and
threatens Israel´s social fabric and national security. He made the
comments at a cabinet meeting, adding that "if we don´t stop the
problem, 60,000 infiltrators are liable to become 600,000, and cause
the negation of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."
Netanyahu also praised the border fence that is being built in the
south as a means of preventing infiltrations, but added that it is
also important "to physically remove the infiltrators. We must crack
down and mete out tougher punishments."
Five groups that aid African migrants sent a letter to Netanyahu
yesterday, asking that he "immediately order the granting of work
permits to asylum-seekers in Israel." The letter stated that the
current situation is forcing migrants to seek shelter in poorer
neighborhoods, exacerbating the problems there. "The situation has
become intolerable," they wrote.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai echoed the sentiment expressed by the
prime minister, and reiterated his own message last week, when he
said that most African migrants are criminals and that all, "without
exception," should be arrested and deported.
Yesterday, Yishai said he is not responsible for asylum-seekers from
war-torn countries whose lives might be at risk if deported back to
those countries, because "as it is, there are millions more who might
"I´m not responsible for what goes on in Eritrea and Sudan - the
United Nations is," Yishai told Army Radio yesterday. "There are
millions there who, God forbid, might be murdered. Should we open our
gates to all of them?"
Yishai also lashed out in response to Police Commissioner Yohanan
Danino´s suggestion that allowing asylum-seekers to work while
they´re in Israel would help fight crime.
"I´m sick of people, particularly politicians, trying to prettify the
situation," he said, saying such remarks come from people unfamiliar
with the reality.
"All these stupidities will bring us the births of hundreds of people
and we can bury the Zionist dream," he said. "Jobs will just root
them here ... and this suggestion will only bring hundreds of
thousands more here."
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees refutes Yishai´s
claim that "only a fraction of [the migrants] are defined as
refugees, and whoever is designated a refugee gets [residency]
status." UNHCR says that between 40,000-45,000 asylum-seekers here
are from Eritrea, 15,000 are from Sudan and another 6,000 are from
other countries to which repatriation isn´t currently possible.
"This population is living here legally," said Sharon Harel of the
UNHCR. "They have legal protection because they cannot return, and
are living here until the danger passes. And for as long as they are
here, they, like all human beings, need access to basic services and
jobs." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/21/12)
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