Illegal aliens in South Tel Aviv
Illegal aliens in South Tel AvivYoni Kempinski

The Knesset approved on Monday evening the final readings of a law that bars illegal infiltrators from withdrawing funds from Israel until their departure from the country.

The bill that was approved states that an illegal infiltrator will only be allowed to send funds out of the country that do not exceed twice the minimum wage which he had earned during his stay in Israel. Only in exceptional cases, with the authorization of the Commissioner of Border Control, will an infiltrator be allowed to withdraw larger sums.

According to this bill, a policeman or a customs officer may seize the property of an illegal infiltrator without a warrant from a judge. The courts or the Commissioner of Border Control may, however, order that the confiscated property be returned to the infiltrator. Assets that are seized and not claimed for a year shall be forfeited to the state treasury. Likewise, assistance by others to the infiltrator in transferring funds will be penalized.

A second bill which was passed is a follow-up to the first bill, and it stipulates that the prohibition on assisting an infiltrator in withdrawing funds from the country would be an offense under the Money Laundering Law.

MK Miri Regev (Likud), chair of the Knesset’s Interior Affairs Committee, who introduced both bills before they were voted upon, said, “Unfortunately, for years the State did not properly address the issue of the infiltrators, and the Prime Minister did the right thing when he allocated funds to build the border fence. We were thus able to prevent the entry of infiltrators and now all that remains is to deal with the infiltrators who are already inside the State, numbering between 60 and 100 thousand. Human rights do not apply only to infiltrators, what about the human rights of those who live here? We as a country have a responsibility for our citizens. Charity begins at home and our job is to worry about the public interest.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the law was approved, "We have blocked the phenomenon of infiltration into Israel. Last month only two infiltrators crossed the border, as opposed to over 2,000 one year ago. Now we are focusing on the infiltrators' departure from Israel. Several thousand infiltrators have already left Israel and we are continuing to work on repatriating the illegal work infiltrators already here.”

The State told the High Court on Sunday that Israel had made arrangements with another country to accept refugees from Eritrea who request political asylum. The large numbers of illegal infiltrators came to Israel via the Sinai and across the once non-fenced southern border, haiing from Eritrea and the Sudan. Few of them were eligible for refugee status, with most of them looking for economic opportunities. The large concentrations of illegals in southern Tel Aviv and other cities made neighborhoods uninhabitable for the Israeli citizens living in them, sparked a rise in specific crimes, and resulted in fears of walking the streets.

As such, the State said, Israel would be able to repatriate Eritrean illegals already in Israel to the so-far unnamed third country, and prevent new refugees from entering the country.

The announcement came during a court discussion of petitions against laws that would imprison illegal immigrants for up to three years. The petitions were brought by an organization working on behalf of rights for the illegals.