The Knesset approved Monday night an amendment to Prevention of Infiltration Law, which will limit the detention of migrants in the Negev’s ”Holot” detention facility for a maximum of 12 months, as opposed to 20 months, as was determined in the law that was rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court. The amendment to the law passed with 55 MKs voting in favor and 32 against.

In August the Supreme Court ruled that jailing migrants at Holot is constitutional but that the term of up to 20 months is disproportionate. The court ruled that the Knesset must come up with revisions to the bill within six months and temporary limited the length of detention at Holot to 12 months.

Knesset approves amendment to anti-infiltration law which lowers the maximum migrant detention in Holot facility to 12 months

MK Yael German

The bill’s explanatory notes say, ”Setting a maximum stay of 12 months is in keeping with the court’s ruling and matches the constitutional standard the court adopted in its ruling about the interim period [of detention]. The suggested term … undermines the dignity and freedom of the infiltrator to a lesser extent.”

During the debate which preceded the vote, MK Revital Swid (Zionist Camp) said ”Why are we investing so much energy in a law instead of dealing with the real issue – what to do about the residents of the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods. How we can improve their lives, which have become a never-ending nightmare”?

”We are babbling about an amendment to the law, but which neighborhood will it save? Who will it help?” she said.

MK Yael German (Yesh Atid) said ”This bill won’t turn south Tel Aviv into a place where it will be nice to live. It won’t remove the refugees and give them a livelihood that might lead them to leave south Tel Aviv.”

German argued that the bill relates to ”people who have done nothing that’s against the law, and who cannot be sent back to their countries of origin because their lives are in danger there. What do we expect from these refugees? That they shouldn’t sleep? That they shouldn’t eat? That they shouldn’t work? The government is turning its back on the call to find a humane solution.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) said, ”Government representatives abroad present the rulings of the High Court on asylum seekers as a reflection of Israeli democracy and are proud that the court invalidates laws that are not constitutional and is defending the rights of minority refugees. With one hand the government criticizes the High Court, and on the other it uses it throughout the world to show how we are such a properly run country.”

”Unfortunately, the policy of abuse of asylum seekers continues in the State of Israel,” “We are once again ignoring the essence of what the High Court was telling us,” she added.