Illegal African immigrants
Illegal African immigrants Israel news photo: Flash 90

Residents of the city of Sderot in southern Israel have been finding that thousands of Sudanese infiltrators, most of them illegal, have entered their city in the past year.

David Avikar, a resident of Sderot and member of the core Torah group in the city, told Arutz Sheva about the growing phenomenon on Sunday.

“They came bit by bit and now they’re taking our jobs,” he said. “There is no factory in Sderot without Sudanese workers, all the major chains employ them. Even the city itself employs them.”

He added, “Every morning they gather at the square and sit on the sidewalk and on the benches. Then people come and take them to work. They call their relatives and tell them to come here as well.”

Avikar noted that the illegal aliens integrate into the city’s neighborhoods which are inhabited by the weaker sectors of Israeli society. He recalled one case in which a family vacated an apartment and several days later a gang of Sudanese immigrants arrived. Each one pays 200 shekels in rent, bringing the total amount of paid rent to 2,500 or 2,800 shekels, instead of 1,300 shekels that a family would pay – something which makes the apartment more profitable for a property owner.

He added that he once entered an apartment inhabited by Sudanese infiltrators, after he suspected one of them stole a bicycle from him. When he entered the apartment he founded dozens of mattresses on which illegal aliens sleep.

Another concern, he said, is the growing crime rate. Avikar, who volunteers for a local neighborhood watch program, said the areas of the city where crime has increased are the same areas inhabited by infiltrators from Sudan.

Avikar said he is trying to promote an initiative which will be presented to the Knesset members and that will raise a bill that would ban the sale and rental of apartments to illegal aliens.

“This is absurd,” he said. “Army veterans who pay taxes according to the law are rejected for apartments because of the Sudanese. The same thing will happen to me when my lease expires.”

He noted that there is a cultural struggle involved as well.

“They opened a church here and after many difficulties we fought it and we were able to shut it down,” Avikar said. “The Jewish girls walk around with them. When one of them smiles at one of our girls and talks with them, they go with him. They are mostly men who are looking for our girls.”

Recent statistics showed that infiltrations of Africans into Israel reached a dizzying pace. The infiltrations grow month by month, but the Population and Immigration Authority has said that it cannot prevent the infiltrators from going to urban areas and being employed illegally, because they do not have a facility in which to keep them until possible deportation. Tens of thousands have remained in Israel, which often does not deport them and instead allows them to remain in the country.

The Population and Immigration Authority said earlier this month that 2,931 people entered Israel illegally through its border with Egypt in December, a record number.

The Knesset recently approved a law that would prevent infiltrations into Israel. The law allows for the arrest and detention of infiltrators for a period of three years. It also includes a provision that permits imposing a life sentence on any infiltrator convicted of property related crimes. Another provision in the law allows for punishment of five to 15 years for anyone convicted of helping infiltrators.

The legislation is part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan for dealing with illegal work infiltrators. The plan also calls for the completion of the Egypt-Eilat border fence using a budget of 280 million shekels being allocated for this purpose, as well as the expansion of the Saharonim facility at Ketziot, where infiltrators are being held, from 2,200 places to 5,500.