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Eilat Mayor: Barak Must Restore Security

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi speaks to Arutz Sheva following an incident in which infiltrators from Africa entered his city.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/20/2011, 5:35 AM / Last Update: 5/20/2011, 8:48 AM

Eilat

 

Leaders and residents of the southern Israeli city of Eilat expressed their anger on Thursday, following an incident early Wednesday morning in which dozens of Sudanese and Eritrean infiltrators entered the city and began knocking on doors, seeking food and water.

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi, who had sent an urgent letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak following the incident, reiterated his demand on Thursday that immediate solution must be found to the phenomenon of infiltrators.

“This is an escalation, as far as we’re concerned,” Halevi said during an interview with Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website. “It is inconceivable that illegal infiltrators can enter the State of Israel and later receive work permits.”

Halevi once again called on Barak to restore security to the city of Eilat. “The fact that they were able to penetrate the neighborhoods within the city shows us about the lawlessness that exists,” he said. “We are witnessing constant infiltration into the city despite the fact that the fence is already under construction. Every month infiltrators from African countries show up here and the state should take all the necessary measures, security and otherwise, to stop the attacks on our sovereignty.”

During Wednesday morning’s incident, Eilat residents reported, some of the infiltrators were actually staggering in their yards.

Those who did not quite reach the city were found near the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline installation. The infiltrators were picked up by IDF soldiers later in the morning.

Halevi said that the incident is a severe blow to the future of the city of Eilat, which is a hotspot for tourists from all over the world.

“The very fact that the city of Eilat receives over ten percent of unwelcome residents causes demographic and economic damage, and also hurts the image of the city,” he said. “They are taking jobs and causing damage. Nobody can assure us that a terrorist infrastructure won’t enter the city in the future and cause even greater damage.”

The incident in Eilat occurred after it was reported that the rate of infiltration into Israel from Sinai has dipped by 50% in the past year.

A senior security source recently told Arutz Sheva that“last year we counted 6,000 infiltrators in this season. This year we are at 2,500 infiltrators.”

The source noted that “the Egyptians are making efforts to prevent the entry of infiltrators. There is good cooperation with the Egyptians.”