Going back home: total of 144 South Sudan citizens who infiltrated Israel
in recent years were sent back to their home country early Tuesday onboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight.
The migrants were brought to Ben-Gurion Airport Monday onboard buses from Arad and from Tel Aviv ahead of their departure.
En route to airport (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Immigration officials said all of them – 91 adults and 53 minors – agreed to leave Israel voluntarily and were to receive $500 per child and $100 per adult upon their departure from Israel.
The departing migrants will join the 127 South Sudan citizens who left Israel last week.
Two more flights are expected to head to South Sudan next week.
Some 1,500 asylum seekers from South Sudan are believed to be in Israel at this time. In recent weeks, more than 300 of them were detained by authorities as part of the effort to reduce the number of migrants in Israel.
More than 600 people signed documents indicating they wish to leave voluntarily.
However, aid groups said the "voluntary departure" is a sham, and is in fact tantamount to forced expulsion, as the migrants face only two choices – voluntary departure or expulsion following detainment.
At this time, some 60,000 infiltrators are estimated to live in Israel. About 50,000 of them are citizens of Sudan and Eritrea and are therefore not sent back to their homeland by Israel, as result of international obligations.