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Interior Minister Eli Yishai
Photo: Herzl Yosef
'Minister Yishai is inciting racism'
Relief organizations slam interior minister for labeling entire foreign workers, refugee community as criminals based on recent weeks' incidents
"Minister Yishai is exploiting isolated criminal incidents to stain an entire population," Michal Pinchuk, director of the ASSAF refugee aid organization, said Wednesday.  

 

Pinchuk's comment followed a statement made by the interior minister in an interview with Army Radio, where he said that "most African refugees are criminals," ading they should be jailed or placed in detention facilities and encouraged to leave the country.

 

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Pinchuk blamed Yishai for legitimizing racism, saying such remarks lead the way to atrocious acts against asylum seekers. "Since it is impossible to deport all refugees and asylum seekers, it is the government's duty to create a policy that allows them to live in honor," said Pinchuk.

 


מפגינים בדרום תל אביב. "הזנחה ממשלתית שגם ישי אחראי לה" (צילום: אריק קצב)

Protesters in Tel Aviv. "Governmental neglect" (Photo: Arik Katsav )

 

The Migrant Workers' Hotline also commented on Yishai's remarks: "It is regretful that an Israeli minister abuses the situation and makes such a a racist statement." The hotline's comment noted that "isolated incidents should not be used as grounds for collective punishment against an entire group."

 

Asylum seekers' advocate Dr. Rami Godovich said "we must not forget that the distress of the residence of poor neighborhoods is eminent, and caused directly from governmental neglect. Yishai is part of this neglecting government."

 

Godovich also explained that since the refugees are not allowed to work, "the criminal and marginal elements among them are strengthened, hurting both locals and refugees."

 

 

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