Illegal infiltrators threaten Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic country, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Calling the issue “very grave” and a threat to the “social fabric,” Netanyahu said, “If we do not stop the entry, the problem, there are now 60,000 illegal infiltrators; could easily grow to 600,000 illegal infiltrators. This would inundate the state and, to a considerable degree, cancel out its image as a Jewish and democratic state.”
The prime minister spoke of the importance of finishing construction of the Egyptian border fence and working to send away “those [illegal migrants] who are already inside.”
Netanyahu said the latter will be done in part by punishing employers who hire illegal migrants.
The growing population of more than 50,000 illegal African migrants has become a hot-button issue, with the weekend editions of all three major Hebrew dailies featuring lead stories relating to the issue.
A little over three weeks ago, African migrants were targeted in a series of Molotov cocktail attacks in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood. In addition, there have been a series of sexual assaults in Tel Aviv over recent weeks that police say were carried out by African migrants.
Also on Sunday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) repeated his call to jail illegal African migrants, most of whom he said were involved in crime.
Generally speaking, much can be learned from Israel about how an intelligent people govern themselves.