“Israel Wants African Migrants Out. Now.”
The Washington Post, May 15, 2015, p.A1
“As Europe struggles to stem a spring flood of migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to cross a deadly Mediterranean Sea, Israel has begun to toughen its stance toward refugees, telling unwanted Africans here they must leave now or face an indefinite stay in prison. Israeli authorities are sending letters to the first of 45,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, informing them they have 30 days to accept Israel’s offer of $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket home or to an unnamed third country in Africa, or face incarceration at Saharonim prison. … The new measures to press the Africans to leave Israel come at a time of heightened fear among the refugees, who were stunned last month by a widely circulated video allegedly showing three Eritreans who left Israel killed by Islamic State militants in Libya. Friends and relatives said they had traveled there in a bid to reach Europe. … Before Israel began cracking down on African migrants a few years ago, the Africans were highly visible in bustling cities, working in kitchens and doing menial labor. There are still neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv filled with Africans. Many Israelis complained they were being ‘invaded.’ … Israel spent more than $350 million to build a 140-mile fence along its entire border with Egypt. Undocumented migrants to Israel are called ‘infiltrators’ by the Israeli government.”
Quickie analysis: I hope that the irony of Israel instituting a policy under which those who are different are expelled or confined to open-air prisons for fear that they are sabotaging the national character of the state is not lost on all Israelis.