Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon warned on Wednesday that the problem Israel has with infiltrators is “undoubtedly a social, national, and security time bomb which must be dealt with most urgently.”
Channel 2 News reported that Ya’alon made the comments during a tour of the central bus station in southern Tel Aviv, where many illegal foreign workers reside and the surrounding depressed area looks surrealistically like an African country, in terms of population, stores and atmosphere.
“There are several ways to take action on this issue,” Ya’alon was quoted as saying. “The government did make some decisions, but some have not yet been realized and while we are working on the others, we must increase the pace.”
Israel has long had problems with infiltrators from Africa who enter through the non-hermetically sealed border with Egypt, some falsely claiming refugee status although that is not the case.
A report presented to the Knesset this week said that an estimated 2,000 people managed to sneak through into Israel in August alone.
Work has begun in the past year on construction of a fence along the Israel-Egypt border. The fence, which will stretch over 150 km, will be fitted with cameras and other technological devices that will make it possible to locate infiltrators.
Addressing the problem of infiltrators coming through Egypt, Ya’alon said, “This barrier cannot be overcome in one day. There are two major key factors here that are intertwined: the first is to prohibit the infiltrators from working, then the motivation to come here will wane. The second is punishing employers severely if they employ foreign workers illegally. This is a significant step that could lead to the beginning of a solution.”
Ya’alon stressed that “Israel is a humane and ethical country, but it is also a country of laws. This process which is happening before our eyes is against both the law and the nature of the State of Israel. In order to maintain our law and our character, we must be allowed to fight this process.”