Israel has initiated the first stage of a controversial “emergency plan” aimed at interning and deporting an estimated 60,000 African immigrants. Officials believe the presence of the Africans poses a threat to the “Jewish character” of the state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes immigrants are swamping his country, has claimed the African migrants “are seen by many Israelis as a law and order issue and even a threat to the long-term viability of the Jewish state.”
The Prime Minister promised that in order to stop the hiring of illegal Africans the legislation would be strictly enforced.
Israeli authorities are ready to grant 1,000 euros to any African who agrees to freely leave within five days. Some immigrants have agreed, while others are going to be repatriated by force.
Over a hundred African men, women, and children, mostly South Sudanese, have been reportedly detained in the Red Sea port of Eilat.
Senior immigration official Yossi Edelstein reported on Israel Radio “We have arrested about 140 infiltrators up until last night, the main portion of who are South Sudanese.”
The handcuffed detainees were brought to the Saharonim detention facility in the Negev Desert.
According to Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, the first to be deported are going to be 1.500 refugees from South Sudan, who fled the civil war that split their country.
“The next stage is the removal from Israel of all the infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan, whose number comes close to 50,000 people,” the Interior Minister said.
Still, the deportation is legally questionable and the Interior Ministry admits it.
“At the moment, we are permitted only to deport from Israel the citizens of South Sudan and the Ivory Coast,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai said.
This raises concerns about those African that are going to be detained and put into camps pending deportation.
But for Minister Eli Yishai who also heads of the Shas religious party saying “no” to alien deportation plans means “shelving the declaration of independence, and the end of the Zionist dream.”
The Israeli parliament is also fueling anti-African rhetoric. Parliamentarians in the Knesset do not hesitate to label Africans “cancer” and the “AIDS to Israeli people”.
It must be said that the majority of the 7.8 million Israelis supports government migrantion policies. The latest opinion poll showed 52 per cent of Israelis agree that Africans pose a threat to Israel.
A few Israelis tend to shift blame for the economic and demographic crisis on illegal immigrants, mostly coming to Israel via the poorly guarded border with Egypt in the Sinai Desert.
There have been a number of anti-immigrant demonstrations in Israel in recent months. The latest was held in Tel Aviv this month. Some participants of the rally accused the African immigrants of coming to their country “to steal and rape”, proposing to “burn them out” and “put poison in their food”, says Ynet News.
A senior police commander David Gez has acknowledged that despite claims of raging crime in sections of south Tel Aviv where Africans live the actual crime level among the migrants is drastically lower than among Israelis.
Nevertheless, the majority of the Israeli are against illegal aliens and there have been a number of hate crimes against Africans. Last Thursday someone set fire on to an Eritrean migrant’s home in Jerusalem, injuring three men. Israeli police said it appeared to be a racist attack. One Eritrean suffered serious burns, and a pregnant woman and her husband were treated for smoke inhalation.
Those Israelis who actually communicate with the illegal Sudanese immigrants are ashamed of the attacks.
David Blum, director of the Isrotel Hotel in Eilat is reported as saying that “Most of them are educated people who fled from a bloody war in their homeland. They speak a number of languages, most of them are Christian, and they did their job in the best way possible with dignity.”
Israeli scientist Dr. Shalva Weil warns of another “threat” to the state of Israel. Dr. Weil is an anthropologist and expert on Ethiopian Jewry of Hebrew University claims that in the past 15 years there has been a sharp rise in the number of African tribes "rediscovering" their Jewish heritage.
"It's important that in Israel people understand that millions of people throughout Africa consider themselves Jewish,” the professor said. “As far as they are concerned, they are the sons of the lost tribes, and are certain that the Promised Land awaits them."