MK Katz
MK Katz Israel news photo: Flash 90

A proposal by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) to collect the vital data of illegal immigrants for the Israel Police records was shot down on Wednesday by the Knesset in a 42-4 "no" vote.

The National Union is an opposition party, and the "no" vote came on the heels of the bill's first reading.

Katz's explanatory notes for the bill say "this bill is offered after lengthy deliberations by the Special Committee for Foreign Workers. [Israel has had] difficulty enforcing its laws within the illegal alien communities in Israel."

"The  inability of police to track and identify illegal aliens, enforcing laws against serious offenses like rape and murder has become increasingly difficult.

"The current laws do not allow police to collect data identifying those who violate Israel's Nationality Law, and because of this it is often impossible to bring charges against illegal aliens who are violating it.

"According to senior police officers, this renders it difficult to enforce the law and protect the citizens of Israel.

“In the United States, for example, when tourists from some countries enter the country, they take finger prints. This law asks that when someone enters Israel illegally, they can be identified and recorded,” the notes say.

In his speech, Katz added that he wondered if Israel was dreaming not to collect the vital statistics and identifying data of those who enter the country illegally.

He added that most of Israel's illegal immigrants currently come from war-torn eastern Africa, and that terrorists from al-Qaeda and other groups may be entering the country among them.

Meanwhile, the first reading of a bill aimed at cracking down on illegal infiltrators passed in the Knesset on Wednesday. The bill seeks to fine or imprison Israelis who hire or rent apartments to illegal foreigners who jumped the border into the country.

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