A record number of 1,940 work migrants and African refugees infiltrated Israel via the Egyptian border in November, the Immigration Authority said Wednesday.
In October, some 1,300 infiltrators entered the country, with the average infiltration rate standing at 1,200 per month. According to official estimates, some 36,000 foreigners who entered Israel from the Sinai desert in recent years live in the country at this time.
In addition, many other foreign workers who entered Israel lawfully also reside in the country.
In light of the figures, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said wants to hire several contractors that would build a fence on the Egypt border simultaneously, in order to speed up construction. "This is a cry for help by the general public. Regrettably, we see that the number of infiltrators is only growing," he said.
The cabinet on Sunday appointed a committee to determine criteria for the establishment of an "open detention center" for infiltrators who entered Israel illegally through Egypt. The government stated that the committee would complete its work within 60 days and that the facility would be built within six months.
During the cabinet session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained why he supports the idea: "There is a growing wave threatening Israeli workplaces, a wave of illegal infiltrators which we must stop due to the harsh implications on the State's character."