MK Miki Zohar
MK Miki Zohar YonatanSindal/Flash 90

MK Miki Zohar (Likud, the chairman of the Knesset Special Committee for Distributive Justice and Social Equality, held a heated debate Tuesday afternoon on the situation in southern Tel Aviv, where residents feel they are being pushed out of their neighborhoods by the influx of illegal infiltrators and asylum seekers.

Committee Chairman Zohar said at the beginning of the sessions: "The feeling is that Israel has abandoned the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv and has given them to the infiltrators. The responsibility lies with the government of Israel and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality. The mayor [of Tel Aviv] abandoned the residents of south Tel Aviv."

MK Amir Ohana (Likud) said: "The infiltrators are a dangerous nuisance. The cultures of the infiltrators are different. They settle in densely packed homes which cannot accommodate that amount of residents and are not able to handle the load. People [living in] stairwells, heaps of garbage, violence, incidents of drunkenness, sexual harassment, and rape. There is a decreased sense of security [in southern Tel Aviv]. They have become a burden on the social welfare and education systems. We should exhaust every legal option to remove the infiltrators from the country."

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) said: "Life in south Tel Aviv has become unbearable...The area was literally occupied. The Supreme Court was not correct and did not protect the residents of south Tel Aviv when it overruled the Infiltration Law time after time. If they were scattered all over north Tel Aviv then the issue would be resolved much more quickly."

Tel Aviv City Councilman Haim Goren, who represents south Tel Aviv, said: "During the first two weeks of registration for the kindergarten classes next year, we recorded a large number of children of migrants, much more than the municipality had anticipated."

Yosef Edelstein, the Director of the Population Immigration and Border Authority, told the committee: "We are taking steps to remove infiltrators from Israel, but in recent years there has been a decline in those numbers due to limitations on [where we can send] the infiltrators. Approximately 14,000 requests for asylum were submitted to Georgia in 2016...We are going to declare Georgia a safe country."