MK Danny Danon (Likud) warned on Sunday against the phenomenon of illegal infiltrators from Africa who enter through the non-hermetically sealed border with Egypt, some falsely claiming refugee status although that is not the case.
The issue has long been a problem for Israel, and cities such as Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Sderot and Eilat have seen their populations swell with thousands of Sudanese and Eritrean infiltrators over the past year. Many of the infiltrators end up residing in the central bus station in Tel Aviv. The area looks surrealistically like an African country, in terms of population, stores and atmosphere.
Danon, who chairs the Knesset Lobby for the problem of infiltrators, spoke at the fifth annual Ramle Conference and said that in 2011, more infiltrators than olim (Jewish immigrants) came to Israel.
“As a result of the entry of illegal infiltrators to neighborhoods in various cities, children and women are afraid to wander the streets, crime is on the rise, unemployment is high and the Jewish character of the neighborhoods has disappeared,” Danon said. “The infiltrators are the most tangible threat to the State of Israel, with potentially hundreds of thousands waiting to come to Israel.”
Danon also called to deport all the infiltrators back to their homeland and said, “Some call it expulsion, I call it defending the homeland.”
Danon later spoke to Arutz Sheva on the sidelines of the Ramle Conference and said, “There are millions of people who want to come and live in Israel and we have to stop it. Already today we have thousands of people travelling and working in Israel, and every day more are trying to cross the border with Egypt.”
He praised a recent decision by the Israeli government to build a fence along the border with Egypt to prevent infiltration, but noted that it is not enough.
“We have to move them out, to deport them,” said Danon. “I think that today we should tell Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, ‘We’re very proud of the fence that you’re building, but without actually deporting those people we’ll see more of them coming.’”
Danon rejected the argument some make that Israel, as the state of the Jewish people who have long been persecuted, should be more sensitive towards the infiltrators.
“We are too sensitive,” he said. “Those people are not coming from a war zone. They’re coming from Egypt, so it’s not a boat of refugees that we’ve sent away. It’s people who lived in Egypt for a few years and are now trying to live in a better place and come here. We have to stop this.”