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Netanyahu. Concerned
Photo: Yaron Brener
Infiltrators at the border
Photo: Reuters
Bibi may pay to deport migrants
Prime minister fears 'demographic imbalance,' considers paying African states to take in migrant laborers Israel intends to deport, Ynet learns

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to step up the deportations of migrant laborers staying in the country illegally, Ynet has learned. The prime minister intends to deal with the issue personally, and is investigating the possibility of entering into secret negotiations with African states and paying them millions if they were to offer refuge to the deportees.

 

Netanyahu perceives the continued entry of migrant laborers from Africa to be a demographic threat to Israel, and has recently expressed strong criticism about the way the issue is currently being handled. For this reason he is investigating options which will "shake up" the State.

 

Ynet has learned that the prime minister may appoint someone to lead negotiations with African states, and is even willing to offer substantial sums to states which agree to take in the workers Israel deports. Another option is to build a camp in the country absorbing them.

 

The basic aim is to drastically and rapidly reduce the number of migrant workers living in Israel who – so Netanyahu thinks – are disturbing the delicate demographic balance of the country. The ideas were raised in a small forum discussing the issue. No decision has yet been taken, but it appears the prime minister has responded positively to the option.

 

'Is it feasible?'

Some 1,200 migrants from Africa enter Israel each month, while only a minority is eligible for refugee status, the security services say. "The prime minister is worried about this subject and wants to move forward with it as fast as possible," a senior figure in the security establishment said to Ynet. "There are many aspects to handling the issue of migrant laborers, and building a fence is not enough. IDF soldiers cannot shoot at migrant workers entering Israel, so it's very hard to prevent their entry. This is a serious problem which demands attention."

 

The security establishment has welcomed Netanyahu's initiative to hold negotiations with African states, but senior figures expressed concern that advertising the idea would make it difficult to apply it. "There are African states which would not want it to be known they have this kind of contact with Israel," they said. "The subject is very sensitive, and the question is, is it feasible?"

 

"This isn’t the first time that the idea of deporting the migrant laborers has been raised," sources close to the prime minster noted. "Such a proposal has been raised in the past too." However, according to international law, it is forbidden to deport a human being who has no place to go.

 

Nonetheless, representatives of the security establishment said Wednesday that the construction of a checkpoint on the border with Egypt would begin next month. A senior source said the security establishment is operating according to the government decision, and the construction would begin as planned.

 

 

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