The Cabinet decided to accelerate the construction of a fence along the southern border and to take a series of additional measures in order to block the growing number of infiltrators from African countries.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
The Cabinet today (Monday), 19 July 2010, decided to accelerate the construction of a fence along the southern border and to take a series of additional measures in order to block the growing number of infiltrators from African countries.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he would personally oversee a series of operative measures and instructed the relevant Government ministries to report to him every three months on the pace of progress in the construction of the ground barrier. "We will also aggressively enforce the law that prohibits Israelis from employing illegal infiltrators and we will inquire into every possibility of returning these infiltrators to their countries of origin and to third parties," he said.
In order to consider the foregoing, it was decided to establish two teams. The first will be chaired by Prime Minister’s Office director-General Eyal Gabai and will formulate recommendations for operative steps in the political sphere for resolving the phenomenon. The second will be chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and will formulate recommendations for action against employers, as well as additional measures to deal with the infiltration phenomenon.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that the new national migration policy being formulated by the Government is designed to protect the solid Jewish majority in the country: "This majority is threatened by the increasing phenomenon of massive illegal infiltration onto our territory by illegal workers. This is a tangible threat to the future of the country. I ascribe historic importance to the proposed legislation because it is a key to the continuation of our being a Jewish and democratic country in the future."
Justice Minister Neeman, who coordinated the formulation of Israel’s migration policy, added that the issue of migration to the State of Israel is an existential need and a national project. "We must resolve this issue as soon as possible," he said.
Today’s discussion was a continuation of yesterday’s, in which ministers were briefed on the various aspects of the issue.
Interior Ministry representatives reported that they can document over 26,000 infiltrators – mostly from Eritrea and Sudan – who are already in Israel. Approximately 1,200 infiltrators enter Israel per month. However, from an in-depth analysis of 3,500 infiltrators, it became clear that only two of them might potentially receive refugee status; all of the others are labor infiltrators. There is a considerable industry that brings to Israel tens of thousands of labor migrants from Africa under the guise of "refugees."
Law enforcement officials added that a "state within a state" has been created in Tel Aviv, mainly in the area around the old central bus station. In Eilat, over 10% of residents are infiltrators from Africa.
Haifa University Professor Arnon Sofer estimated that if the situation is not changed, there will be approximately 500,000 infiltrators in Israel within 15 years.
The Foreign Ministry reported that it is working to find diplomatic solutions to the phenomenon both with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and in an effort to reach agreements with various African and other countries on the possibility of transferring the infiltrators.
Defense Ministry Director-General Ehud Shani said that his ministry was working energetically to implement the Government decision to build a barrier along the southern border and added that work would begin this November and is expected to continue for approximately two years. The barrier will include – inter alia – fences and observation and monitoring posts.
The discussion of additional aspects of the issue will continue during next Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the Cabinet meeting today (Monday), 19 July 2010:
The Cabinet continued its discussion of entry and migration into Israel and – after a four-hour discussion – decided as follows:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak will, within 14 days, circulate a memorandum regarding the necessary legislative changes to the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law in order for the Law to serve as the exclusive and comprehensive arrangement for dealing with the phenomenon of infiltration into the State of Israel.
Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabai will chair a team that will work towards implementing operative steps in the political sphere. The team will include representatives of the Defense, Foreign, Finance and Justice ministries, as well as representatives from the Attorney General’s office and the Interior Ministry Migration Authority, and will submit its recommendations to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within 30 days.
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai will chair a team that will within 14 days propose to the Government steps to facilitate enforcement against those who employ infiltrators, with the enforcement itself to begin no later than 1 September 2010. The team will include representatives of the Defense, Interior, Public Securty, Finance and Justice ministries, as well as representatives from the Attorney General’s office and the ISA. Within 60 days, the team will propose additional solutions to the infiltrators problem, including legislative changes and additional operative measures.