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Number of African Infiltrators Plummets

Israeli stops illegal African infiltrators – finally. Only 64 cross into Israel last week, compared with a previous rate of 500 a week.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/15/2012, 2:55 PM

Illegal African immigrants
Illegal African immigrants
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli measures to stop illegal African infiltrators are paying off – finally. Only 64 cross into Israel last week, compared with a previous rate of  at least 500 a week.

A grand total of 12 infiltrators managed to cross the Egyptian-Israeli border over the weekend, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, and 183 have entered Israel illegally in the first two weeks of July.

"To compare, 1,000 infiltrators crossed last month. In May, there were 2,000,” said the Prime Minister. “I remind you that all those who reached the border did not reach the border, sit there and wait for a ride to Tel Aviv or other localities in the State of Israel.

“This is not what happened. They came and were taken immediately to detention, and we have increased the number of holding places, we increased them thanks to vigorous government action.”

The “vigorous” action came only after more than two years of lobbying and pressure, led by National Union chairman and Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz.

Initially, thousands of African infiltrators threatened to dominate the Jewish cities of Arad, Eilat and Dimona, but as the flood moved northward and finally to Tel Aviv, the government began to move more quickly.

The long-delayed fence along the previously open border with Egypt is near completion. “This week we will complete the 200th kilometer of the fence,” he told the Cabinet ministers. “It will take us another few months to complete the 20 additional kilometers in the mountainous areas around Eilat and in the central part of the border with Egypt, and we are applying, I would say, great conscious pressure in Africa to explain to infiltrators that the rules of the game have changed.”

Until recently, IDF soldiers reported that every day, there were long lines of African immigrant crossing the border,  most of them having left home to look for a higher standard of living.

The migration of tens of thousands of African illegal to lower-income areas in Tel Aviv touched off protests, which gained the ear of Knesset Members. A media campaign to declare the immigrants “refugees” failed.  The move would have bolstered activists to reduce the percentage of the growing religious Jewish population in the country.