Knesset Member Yaakov Katz (National Union) sparked uproar when he proposed a solution for the infiltration of African refugees into Israel – building a southern town where the refugees would work exclusively.
Talking to Ynet the MK denied that only refugees would be able to live in the new city, and noted that the proposal was only meant to serve as a "less convenient and glamorous" alternative to Tel Aviv.
In an article posted on the internet Katz wrote, "The Jewish people have spent 100 years building a Jewish state and in 10 years the infiltrators can wash it all down the drain." He explained that by creating a city where immigrants will be employed in less comfortable jobs, the wave of infiltrators threatening to sieze Israel will be blocked.
MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) called the proposal "outrageous" and noted that "we are approaching Passover where one is reminded of the order to remember foreigners, which Katz had forgotten, as well as the 'love the foreigner' commandment.
"He also forgot Jewish history and the Jewish people who fled while many nations closed their gates to us." Khenin further claimed that Israel is obligated to act according to basic human, Jewish and legal norms since it is a member of the Refugee Convention.
In a conversation with Ynet, Katz categorically denied all accusations that he allegedly suggested only refugees will be able to reside in the new city. "It's a lie, I wrote a letter and published it everywhere. There are 25,000 work immigrants without a permit in Israel today. Each month an additional 2,000 immigrants arrive, totaling in some 25,000 immigrants a year. According to Defense Ministry estimates an additional million immigrants are planning to arrive in Israel."
Katz added that "the refugees are flooding Tel Aviv and its suburbs, which are turning African. This is not what Herzl wanted and this is the reason the State doesn't grant work permits for refugees and encourages citizens not to employ them, however the law isn't being enforced since there's no alternative."
The MK added that his solution would cause the refugees to discourage their families from "turning up here in masses" since the new town won't be as glamorous as Tel Aviv.
"I never suggested employing them in hard labor or loading them on trucks but to provide a practical solution. It might not sound good or paint a pretty picture but someone has to do the job, to warn and handle the matter for the sake of a Jewish state."