Motion Against Infiltrator Law Partially Rejected

Detaining infiltrators for 3 months is fine, but placing them in an open detention facility for 20 months is too harsh, says High Court.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 6:41 PM

Illegal infiltrators (illustration)
Illegal infiltrators (illustration)
Nicky Kelvin/Flash 90

The High Court partially rejected the motion filed by leftist human rights organizations against the so-called Infiltrator Law. It determined, however, that leaving infiltrators in an open detention facility for 20 months was too harsh of a measure. Instead, it set the maximum time for open detention at 12 months. 

The version of the Infiltrator Law that was discussed by the court was approved on the last day of the 19th Knesset's term. Approved by 43 MKs against 20, it states that illegal infiltrators may be detained at the Saharonim jail for up to three months (instead of a year in the earlier version of the law), after which they are to be transferred to the open facility in Holot. They can be held in the open facility for a maximum of 20 months, instead of one year in the previous version, and can only be made to report to the facility once a day, at the end of the day, instead of three times a day in the previous version of the law.

The Infiltrator Law was revived in November, after key elements were shot down several months earlier by the High Court for Justice.

The law specifies that the state will try to ensure that asylum seekers leave the country in several ways. With the approval of the law, employers will be required to deposit a monthly fee for employing asylum seekers, at the expense of severance pay. Each asylum seeker working in Israel will also be required to deposit money from his/her own paycheck, which he/she will receive only upon leaving Israel.

Various versions of the law have been shot down by the court in recent years in response to motions filed by leftist groups. These judicial decisions have sparked intense frustration among nationalists, who see them as an undemocratic form of intervention by judges in the Knesset's decisions.

Shaked's Facebook mini-campaign

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked mounted a private Facebook campaign to pressure the High Court to reach the right decision Tuesday, regarding the Infiltrator Law. The court was to decide whether the law in its latest form conforms with Israel's Basic Laws, after knocking down two earlier, tougher versions.

"Today, the verdict regarding the Infiltrator Law will be handed down,” wrote Shaked. “The law has been canceled twice by the Supreme Court. The formulation enabled by the Supreme Court last time was too soft, and the proof of that is that in recent months, the phenomenon of infiltration, which we almost overcame, has returned, and dozens of Africans penetrated Israel.”

"Should the court cancel the bill a third time," she warned, "this will mean that southern Tel Aviv has been declared an official holding facility for infiltrators."

Shaked announced that “From now on and every two hours, until the verdict is given, I will upload videos documenting the unbearable lives of the residents of southern Tel Aviv.” She began with the video showing a female infiltrator beating a local woman with a plank. However, she did not continue posting videos as promised.


MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) called Shaked's post “incitement.”

"A fortnight has not yet passed since the two shocking hate crimes that resulted from an atmosphere of incitement and racism, and it appears the justice minister has learned nothing,” she accused.

"Words can kill and the posts that the justice minister has been publishing in the last few hours are incitement in the full sense of the word. In these crazed times, elected officials, including the justice minister, must behave responsibly and not like some talkback writer. The finger of blame regarding the criminal neglect of the neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv needs to be pointed at the policy of the government, which continues to deal with incarceration instead of truly treating the hard social problems of southern Tel Aviv.”