MK Miri Regev
MK Miri Regev Flash 90

MK Miri Regev (Likud) toured south Tel Aviv Sunday with the Committee Against Infiltrators, which she heads, following the decision of the High Court for Justice to issue an injunction against the implementation of the Infiltration Law passed by the Knesset three weeks ago.

"The High Court for Justice works for infiltrators; I work for the public," Regev said. ''It is inconceivable that the High Court can intervene in Knesset legislation during a time in which the Knesset and the government have been disbanded and during the period prior to elections." 

''The court must listen to the Israeli public and stop being disconnected from the public's view," Regev added. ''I call upon the High Court to discuss the issue of illegal immigration only after the elections and withdraw the interim order and if necessary bring limitations to the law during the next Knesset." 

According to her, residents of southern Tel Aviv have become refugees in their own country. "The sights I saw today in south Tel Aviv are tough. I embrace the residents of south Tel Aviv and understand their distress."

"I will continue to take action to which I will bring efficient and effective legislation to solve this," she promised. 

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

The new version of the law, formulated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry, mandates that asylum seekers will stay in Holot for one year and eight months - eight months more than the period proposed by the original law.

New infiltrators caught in Israel illegally will be sent to the Saharonim prison for three months, as well, less than the one-year period in the original law. 

In addition, 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.

The issue is a matter of public perception versus public safety. While proponents of the High Court ruling argue that the detention center is a "human rights" issue, a direct correlation has also been made between infiltration and violent crime. 

Residents of south Tel Aviv have been suffering from endless harassment perpetrated by tens of thousands of illegal Eritrean and Sudanese infiltrators who enter Israel to find employment and come to live in their working class neighborhoods. Many Jewish residents say they are terrified of leaving their homes and have begged the government to take action.

While violence has ruled the streets of those neighborhoods for years, controversy was sparked again recently after the High Court’s decision to strike down key sections of the Infiltrators Law, which made it possible to detain illegal immigrants without trial for up to one year.

The violent crime rate in south Tel Aviv is now several times higher compared to the average for other sections of the major city. Sexual offenses in neighborhoods with large percentages of infiltrators have been recorded as occurring at a rate 3.5 times higher than found in the general population, violent crime 2.5 times higher than in the general population, and robbery 6 times higher than in the general population.

However, controversy regarding new laws preventing illegal immigration - including a smear campaign against Israel's handling of the 60,000 migrants run by NGOs, leftist groups, and the UN - postponed judgement on the petition while Israel repaired damage to its image.