Government Approves Southern Border Fence

The government has approved the construction of a new security fence on Israel's southern border to stop infiltration by Sudanese and Eritreans.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 16:04

Security fence in the south (archive)
Security fence in the south (archive)
Israel news photo: Flash 90 / archive

The government has approved the construction of a new security fence on Israel's southern border. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the decision Sunday morning at the beginning of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting.

We will close the route by which infiltrators and terrorists enter the country from North Africa, in order to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu told the ministers.

It is estimated that the project will cost 1.35 billion shekels ($365 million), with “smart” installations to detect intruders particularly in wider areas around Gaza and Eilat. Netanyahu said the allocation will be spread out over several years.

The fence, proposed by Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich, will run along the Israel-Sinai border and is intended to prevent further infiltration by illegal immigrants and “criminal elements”.

Thousands of Africans from Eritrea and Sudan have managed to slip through in recent years, most seeking jobs, and some fleeing religious and political persecution in their countries of origin. The flood of infiltrators has caused havoc in smaller communities hard hit by last year's worldwide financial crash, and where few resources exist to provide services to help the illegal residents acclimate and begin new lives.

A police spokesman estimated that up to 200 illegal workers infiltrate through the border into Israel each week, often accompanied by “criminal elements.”

Despite being Muslim, many choose not to remain in Egypt even though it is an Islamic nation.