Eli Yishai
Eli YishaiIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced on Thursday that he will impose fines on any mayors who employ immigrants from Africa.

Yishai announced that he plans to distribute a letter next week, in which he will demand that all mayors end, within 30 days, the employment of all African immigrants, or else they will be fined.

Speaking in an interview on Channel 2 News, Yishai said, “Any local authority that will employ infiltrators - we will act directly against the head of that local authority. Let them employ Israelis instead. Infiltrators belong in the same country from which they came.”

At the same time, Yishai condemned the conduct of some Knesset members, particularly during Wednesday evening’s rally in south Tel Aviv, saying, “The fight against infiltration would have been much better managed without the unnecessary fervor of politicians in recent days.”

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rebuked those MKs who took part in the rally, saying, “I want to make it clear that there is no place for the statements or actions that we saw last night. I say this both to public officials as well as to the residents of southern Tel Aviv, whose pain I understand.”

On Wednesday, more than 1,000 people calling for immigration laws to be enforced demonstrated at the corner of Irgun and Haganah in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Hatikva.

During the rally, MK Danny Danon – who chairs the Knesset committee tasked with preventing illegal immigration to Israel – declared to demonstrators, "The state of Israel is at war with an enemy state that has formed within Israel and has its capital in southern Tel Aviv!"

MK Miri Regev told those in attendance that “we will not allow” illegal immigration to “spread like a cancer in our society.”

After the rally some protesters smashed windows, lit garbage cans on fire, and damaged a car that had three illegal aliens in it. No one was hurt in the incident. On Thursday police arrested 12 people on suspicion of attacking the vehicle, and running riot.

Netanyahu also vowed on Thursday to begin enforcing Israel’s immigration laws and deporting illegal aliens “soon.”

"The problem of the illegal aliens must be solved and we will solve it," Netanyahu said. "We will complete construction of the fence within a few months and we will soon begin repatriating illegal aliens back to their countries of origin."

Like Netanyahu, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin called on lawmakers to "guard their words" and avoid statements on emotionally charged social issues that could inflame passions.

Journalist turned politician Yair Lapid, who chairs the Yesh Atid party, also addressed the issue of his Facebook page on Thursday, saying, “I support the detention and deportation of illegal infiltrators, completing the border fence and preventing their entry, and I think that the human rights organizations need to think first about the rights of our local residents..

Lapid, added, however, “When I see a pogrom in the State of Israel, led by loud agitators such as MKs Danon, Regev and Ben-Ari, I wonder where these people have the audacity to call themselves Jews? Regev, Danon and Ben-Ari, along with the group that hit infiltrators on the streets of Tel Aviv, do not understand Jewish ethics, the Jewish collective memory, or the meaning of Jewish existence.”