Daily Israel Report

Number of Infiltrators Leaving Israel Skyrockets in August

Illegal immigrants leaving in August amid Gaza operation jumps to as many as the previous four months put together.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 9/1/2014, 7:06 PM

On the bus to Holot (file)
On the bus to Holot (file)
Flash 90

With Gaza terrorists showering Israel with rockets, August didn't bring much good news for Israelis. But every cloud has a silver lining: in August a noted increase was recorded of illegal African immigrants leaving the country.

While there was no specific connection to the war, observers said that many in the infiltrator community were taken by surprise by the intensity of the war – and many of them have apparently decided that Israel isn't necessarily the best place for them.

A total of 379 illegals voluntarily left Israel in August, more than had left the previous four months altogether. It was also significantly more than had left the country in August the previous year, when 216 illegals voluntarily emigrated.

So far this year, 5,388 illegal Africans have left Israel voluntarily; Israeli authorities who have investigated the infiltrators have repeatedly reported that nearly all of them snuck into Israel looking for job opportunities.

In June, more than 1,000 illegal African immigrants staged a sit-in near the southern border with Egypt, following a protest march against their internment camp in Holot, near the Sinai border, where they are required to stay. The infiltrators called for help leaving the country.

Israel requires illegal immigrants who have been in the country for more than five years to live in Holot. Under legislation passed in December 2013, authorities can detain illegal immigrants for up to a year without trial.

The Israeli population and immigration office said that in late 2013 there were 53,646 African immigrants in Israel, 35,987 of whom were Eritrean, 13,249 Sudanese, and the remainder from other countries.

Illegal immigrants have been cited as responsible for a dramatic rise in violent crime in parts of Israel, particularly in the working class neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv were they are mostly concentrated.

Israel's construction last year of an electric fence along its border with Egypt has reduced the number of immigrants arriving illegally through the Sinai Peninsula to almost none.