Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced on Wednesday that the campaign against infiltrators and illegal aliens will be going into 'high gear'.
Yishai said that he instructed the Department of Immigration and Population to begin a new operation which will see illegal infiltrators from North Sudan being put into holding facilities starting on October 15. He noted that he had received the Prime Minister's Offiice's consent to the operation.
He emphasized that until that date, any infiltrators who wish to leave Israel willingly will be assisted by his office. Those who do not leave of their own accord will be jailed and deported in the future.
“Now I'm going to put all my weight to receive a legal permit that will allow imprisonment and deportation of infiltrators from Eritrea,” Yishai said. “This is another step in moving from talk to action with regard to the problem of infiltrators.”
He added that “those who want to continue to talk and be witnesses in a future commission of inquiry about the loss of Israel [to the infiltrators] – can talk, and those who want to act and ensure a Jewish and Zionist state for their children, should act. I am choosing to act.”
In recent years the State of Israel has been dealing with a wave of infiltrators from Africa. The infiltrators come in through the non-hermetically sealed border with Egypt.
An operation dubbed “Going Home”, which was launched a few months ago, combines a police crackdown with financial incentives for illegal infiltrators from South Sudan who leave by choice. Yishai has also instructed the Department of Immigration and Population to begin repatriating illegal alien infiltrators from the Ivory Coast.
Official statistics released on July 28 showed that illegal infiltration into Israel through Sinai had plummeted sharply over a period of two months.
The number of illegal immigrants who crossed the border up to that point in July was 244. In June, the number of infiltrators was 928. In May it was 2,031. This means the rate of infiltration had dropped by over 85% in two months.
Israel’s main problem remains the infiltrators from Eritrea and North Sudan, which make up the bulk of the infiltrators.
The UN Human Rights Council recently said that Eritrea was among the worst human rights offenders in Africa, with as many as 10,000 political prisoners held in prisons. In the wake of the comments, officials in Israel have admitted that the country would have a much harder time repatriating Eritreans.