'We'd rather die then go back' (archives)
Photo: Reuters

Israel flying Sudanese infiltrators back to Africa

Flight carrying 150 Sudanese infiltrators takes off from B-G Airport en route to African country, from which they'll continue to homeland. Civil rights group claims move endangers migrants' lives. Rabbi: Better late than never


The migrants have agreed to the relocation, and the UN is cooperating with Israel on the initiative.


Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Sudan.


The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Hotline for Migrant Workers said reports on the flight may endanger the migrants' lives. "This is not the first time in human history where the lives of people who are returning to their home country are at risk because the country in which they sought refuge shirked its responsibilities," one civil rights activist said.  


Meanwhile, Pardes Katz Rabbi Menashe Zelicha and one of the initiators of the rabbis' letter calling on Bnei Brak residents not to rent out apartments to refugees welcomed the move. "Better late than never", he told Ynet.


"The infiltrators endangered and still endanger the Jewish and Zionist character of the State and I hope these efforts continue. We cannot allow them to integrate among us. It hurt us to find out that they turned one Bnei Brak apartment into a house of worship. They have the right to pray, but not here – or live here at our expense."


'Drop in the ocean'

Unlike Zelicha, Shlomo Maslawi, a Tel Aviv city councilman (Likud) who over the last few months has been leading a battle against absorbing the refugees and foreign infiltrators in one of Tel Aviv's southern neighborhoods was skeptical over the reports.


"This is taking one step forward and two steps back" he explained. "Who will ensure that the same group doesn't return again?


"The reason it will happen is very simple: They come into Israel without any passports or identification, which will allow them to return unnoticed. Today 150 are leaving but tomorrow will bring 150 new infiltrators. This move is cosmetic, a drop in the ocean. It's like giving a dying man Paracetamol."


Once in Israel, detained migrants are usually offered a substantial sum of money to make the arrangements for their return home. They are also asked to sign a document stating they are leaving Israel voluntarily.


A report on the unprecedented flight, which was organized by the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry's Population and Immigration Authority, aired Monday evening on Channel 2. About a month and a half ago Ynet reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered African countries millions of dollars to absorb the illegal infiltrators.


The PM considers their presence a demographic danger and has recently expressed his dissatisfaction with the handling of the issue. In conversations held behind closed doors, Netanyahu said he was considering steps that would "shake the country."


The initiative aims to significantly reduce the number of illegal migrants in Israel.


Migrant representatives responded to reports of the Israeli offer by saying, "We would rather die than be returned to Africa."


Ibrahim Saad al-Din, a refugee from Darfur who arrived in Israel four years ago, said "it is difficult to hear this proposal because it is as though we are being sold. People are fleeing Africa out of fear, not financial difficulties.


"The economic situation in Sudan is better than it is here. Most of us were well off before the war," he said.


Attila Somfalvi, Yael Branovsky and Yoav Zitun contributed to the report 



פרסום ראשון: 12.13.10, 21:02
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