Crackdown on Illegal Entrants

The special police unit 'Oz' begins a crackdown on illegal entrants. More than 4,000 checked, 400 arrested.

Maayana Miskin,

Foreign worker in Israel
Foreign worker in Israel
Israel news photo: (Flash 90)

The special police unit “Oz” has begun a large-scale operation aimed at cracking down on illegal entry to Israel. Over the past three weeks, members of the unit have checked the documents of more than 4,000 workers.

Of those 4,000, 600 were detained for questioning. Four hundred were arrested after police discovered that they had entered the country illegally.

Over 120 people have been expelled from the country, as have 50 Palestinian Authority Arabs who were discovered to be working illegally in Israeli cities. Another 90 foreign workers will be expelled from the country once travel arrangements can be made.

Police are hoping that many foreign workers who are in Israel illegally will be convinced to leave of their own free will, without facing penalties. Police have reached out to illegal workers, publishing offers of help in arranging flights home for those prepared to leave voluntarily.

So far, more than 700 illegal entrants have agreed to leave the country voluntarily.

The enforcement operation is taking place throughout the country, and is targeting workers employed in all major sectors known to use foreign labor, including the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, and those providing home assistance such as cleaning or home-based care.

Some of the officers involved are conducting inspections, while others are working undercover.

Foreign workers discovered to have entered the country illegally face expulsion, and addition to a “blacklist” of those prohibited to reenter the country. Those found to have employed illegal entrants face a variety of penalties.

Those found to have knowingly employed illegal workers will face fines ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 shekels for a first offense. For those committing a second offense, the fine will be doubled.

Those committing a third offense will face trial.

Police: No Minors in Custody
Following protests against the expulsion of children living in Israeli illegally, police clarified that no foreign minors are currently in custody. The only foreign children leaving Israel at this time are those whose parents are leaving voluntarily, police said.

Roughly 200 foreign workers and Israeli supporters held rallies in Tel Aviv last week against the planned enforcement of immigration laws. The protests featured young children, who held signs asking to be allowed to remain in Israel.