Illegal African immigrants
Illegal African immigrantsIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The High Court has spoken, said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and soon thousands of illegal Africans will be heading “home” to his city. In an op-ed in Yediot Ahronot Tuesday, Huldai said that if the High Court insisted on letting illegal African immigrants roam the city, then Tel Aviv needed a lot more resources to deal with them.

On Monday, the High Court declared the government's policy on detaining illegal immigrants – under which illegals could be detained for up to three years – as violating several Basic Laws. Some 2,000 illegal Africans will be freed from an encampment in the Negev in the next 90 days, most likely heading to Tel Aviv, where there is already a large illegal African community. The government has the option to attempt to deport the illegals, but many of them claim that they are genuine refugees from political repression, so deporting them would likely be a long and costly process.

While there are groups of illegals throughout the country, many of them have taken up residence in south Tel Aviv. Sometimes living dozens to an apartment, illegal immigrants have been blamed for a massive spike in violent crime - including rape, robbery and serious assault - that has blighted the largely working-class neighborhoods. Jewish residents of the area complain of being assaulted, attacked, robbed, intimidated, and worse by the illegals, who, many long-time residents say, seem to have made it their objective to turn south Tel Aviv into an “Africans only” zone.

For years, Huldai wrote, he has complained about the government's dumping of the illegals in his city – but now that the court has made that policy “official,” he wrote, the government needed to take the responsibility for what is going on there.

“The court decision places a focus on the things we have been saying for years regarding the need for the government to develop a clear policy on illegals. If they are to remain, we need a roadmap on how to integrate them into the life of the city, and budgets and resources to deal with the large number of problems in education, welfare, personal security, and employment," wrote Huldai.

“The Tel Aviv Municipality is the only one that has been dealing with this issue for many years,” Huldai continued. “We will continue to do so, but we cannot ignore the fact that the number and type of illegal Africans has changed life in the city. Despite our requests, there has been no response to our requests for assistance in this area.”

The suffering of residents of the neighborhoods illegals have taken control of “is real and painful,” Huldai wrote. “We will do our best to continue serving residents of those neighborhoods, but also to deal with the illegals. Without our efforts to aid them, the situation would be much worse.

“I hope that in the wake of the court's decision the government will finally come to its senses and do what it is required to do, by providing us assistance in dealing with this important issue,” he said.