The government approved Sunday the absorption of 498 Sudanese refugees who entered Israel through Egypt after fleeing Sudan's troubled Darfur region.
Yaakov Ganot, the former head of the Israel Prison Service, has been assigned the task of implementing the refugees' absorption. Ganot, who led a failed bid to become Israel's top police officer earlier this year, will head an inter-ministerial team appointed to assist the refugees.
Dozens of Sudanese refugees infiltrate Israel from Egypt every month.
Government officials said Sunday that the government would not absorb more refugees and would deport old and new Sudanese exiles to countries willing to grant them asylum.
The government has not yet decided which status the refugees will be granted. Israel is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees and the government has had to find a mechanism to deal with hundreds of Sudanese from the Darfur region.
It also remains unclear what financial assistance the government will extend to the refugees and whether they will be allowed to stay in Israel indefinitely.
A government official said the number of Sudanese infiltrators dropped significantly in August and September with 150 refugees crossing into Israel over this period. Over 900 refugees arrived in Israel from Egypt in July.