Interior Ministry Planning New 'Infiltrator Law'

Following controversial High Court decision to shoot down previous law, ministry signals it isn't giving up the issue without a fight.

Hezki Baruch and Ari Soffer, | updated: 17:43

Infiltrators in Ashkelon
Infiltrators in Ashkelon
Flash 90

Just over a week since the High Court controversially shot down the so-called "Infiltrator Law", which sought to tackle the problem of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Africa residing in Israel, the Interior Ministry appears to be pushing back by announcing plans to initiate new legislation in its place.

The High Court's decision was widely condemned by legislators, who saw it as an infringement on Israel's democratically-elected leadership by an unelected institution notorious for judicial activism in favor of "left-wing" causes.

Interior Minister Gidon Sa'ar noted that the decision marked the second time in a single year that the High Court intervened in legislation regarding infiltrators, which was approved by large majorities in two different Knessets. The previous Infiltrator Law was completely annulled by the High Court. Following this, the present law was passed, and now the court has effectively annulled it as well.

Others noted that the Infiltrator Law - which allowed for the indefinite detention of illegals pending deportation - had succeeded in cutting crime significantly in areas where a high concentration of illegal immigrants has led to a dramatic increase in crime, and particularly violent crime.

The precise contents of the new proposal by the Interior Ministry is not yet known, but the very announcement is undoubtedly a signal that Israeli legislators are pushing back against the court's interference.

Meanwhile, the ministry published figures showing that in the month of September 363 infiltrators left the country voluntarily - a significant increase on the same month last year, during which just 135 chose to leave.

Altogether, 5,751 illegals have left Israel since the start of 2014. The increasing number of illegals leaving the country was largely down to the Infiltrator Law, and the fear is that the High Court's decision could undermine efforts to repatriate the tens of thousands who remain. 

Precise numbers are difficult to come by, but most estimates place the figure of illegal immigrants at around 60,000 in total - a large number considering Israel's relatively small population.


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