Interior Minister Eli Yishai instructed
local authorities to enforce the law against unlicensed businesses owned by migrants,
including legal refugees, Yediot Ahronot reported Sunday.
According to the law, migrants who operate illegal businesses are expected to have their businesses shut down, receive fines, and possibly go to jail.
officials said this was part of Yishai's attempt to score points over Aryeh Deri in
the battle over the party's leadership.
Attorney Genral Yehuda Weinstein
expressed his support of Yishai's move, saying: "Not enforcing the law on migrants alone creates a deep sense of inequality," Weinstein wrote.
A Sudanese refugee who owns a restaurant in Tel aviv said in response: "We have no other way to make a living. This is pure racism...some people, if denied the possibility to work for a living, will turn to crime."
Police officials also believe that encouraging unemployment among migrants will lead them to crime. "This is a crime of survival. Keeping the migrants employed is the best temporary solution until a permanent one will be found," said the Tel Aviv District Police chief.
"The migrants are a danger to the future and identity of the state of Israel," Yishai said. "I'm glad to see that the attorney general supports my decision… I have nothing against the migrants; I am guided by what's best for the State," he added.
Adva Cohen contributed to this report