Yishai vows to clear Israel of infiltrators in 3 yrs (JERUSALEM POST) By BEN HARTMAN 06/06/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
There will be no more “infiltrators” in Israel three years from
today, Interior Minister Eli Yishai vowed on Tuesday, the same day he
announced the formation of a task force to deal with the issue of
illegal African migrants living in the country.
He added that he had placed the subject at the top of his priority
list for the coming year and that it was his intention “to do
everything I can to solve the infiltrator problem in Israel once and
Yishai said the task force would be devoted to two main goals:
stopping further illegal migration into the country and working on
ways to expel those currently residing in Israel illegally.
The task force will have two months to come up with recommendations,
which the interior minister said he would present at an emergency
cabinet meeting to be held for that purpose.
Leading the team will be Arnon Soffer, a professor of geography at
the University of Haifa and the National Defense College. He was also
one of the architects of the Gaza disengagement plan and has been
outspoken about the demographic challenges facing the state.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post in May, Soffer said Israel
could expect to face an unending wave of illegal migration in the
coming years, mainly due to climate change in the Nile Basin and
elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East.
“We are an island – we don’t belong to this region, and we have to
defend Israel from waves of migration from Egypt from Jordan and
maybe from Syria. If we want to keep Israel a Jewish state, we will
have to defend ourselves from what I call ‘climate refugees,’ exactly
as Europe is doing now,” the professor told the Post in the interview.
He also compiled a report in December 2009 for the University of
Haifa and the National Security College entitled “Refugees or Migrant
Workers from Africa,” in which he posited that most African migrants
in Israel were economic migrants and not refugees or asylum-seekers.
In the report, he also called NGOs that assist African migrants “the
cartel of human rights organizations,” alleging that many of the NGO
workers were post- Zionists looking to destroy the country’s Jewish-
Also on the task force are Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yom Tov Samiyah, the
former head of the Southern Command, the Gaza Division and the Givati
Brigade; Prof. Jochanan Stessman of the Hadassah Medical Center;
retired judge Sara Frisch, a former deputy head of the Central
District Attorney’s Office; former head of the Police Operations
Department and the Immigration Authority Asst.-Ch. (ret.) Berti
Ohayon; and attorneys Aryeh Sharabi and Ron Rogin.
Israel has an estimated population of 60,000 illegal African
migrants. As many as 90 percent of these are from Eritrea and Sudan,
and according to international law they cannot be returned to their
home countries, as they stand to face persecution there.
William Tall of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
(UNHCR) said that the government would first have to establish the
difference between “infiltrators” and asylum-seekers, and would have
to significantly increase its capacity to carry out refugee status
determination if it wanted to deport thousands of illegal residents
in the coming years.
“I think Israel needs a clear and appropriate definition of these two
terms [‘infiltrators’ and ‘asylum-seekers’], and they cannot deal
with the problem until they define who is who,” he said.
As the public discourse on the issue of illegal African migrants has
become more and more explosive, with repeated acts of violence and
arson targeting the country’s African community, Yishai has
consistently been outspoken in his characterization of the migrants.
In May, he said that if he had the tools, he would jail all of the
migrants and then deport them to their home countries, and last week
he told Ma’ariv that African migrants were raping many women in Tel
Aviv, but that the women weren’t reporting the crimes so people
wouldn’t suspect they were carrying AIDS.
On Sunday, the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority said
that the country has officially begun implementing the “infiltrators
law,” meaning that Israel can now jail, for up to three years, those
caught illegally entering the country.
Also Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on the
government to step up efforts to deport migrants from the Ivory
Coast, Ghana, Ethiopia and South Sudan who are not considered
refugees and are living in the country illegally.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he
recognized that it was impossible to expel citizens of Eritrea and
Sudan because their lives would be at risk if they returned to their
home countries. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/06/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY