A Knesset committee discussed the government's decision to set up a fence along the Israel-Egypt border on Monday. The debate was attended by representatives of the Prime Minister's Office, the Defense Ministry, the Prison Service and the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority.
Committee chairman MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) said that some 35,000 infiltrators had entered Israel by the end of 2010. He added that 85% of them reside in south-central Israel and Tel Aviv.
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It is estimated that the fence will prevent most infiltrators from entering Israel illegally. However, Katz remarked that by the time the fence is completed, the end of 2012, infiltrators will comprise 10% of Tel Aviv's population.
"If infiltration continues, there will be 50,000 infiltrators by the end of 2012, 40,000 of which will reside in Tel Aviv."
Data indicate that some 3,400 infiltrators entered Israel since the beginning of the year. Some 400-550 infiltrate Israel every month.
The government is also planning to build a special facility where the infiltrators will be kept for a period of up to three years near the Saharonim prison. It will be able to house 8,000 people and will be operated by the Prison Service. The facility will provide food, clothing, accommodation as well as health services.
The Defense Ministry's deputy director estimated that only a few will be able to infiltrate Israel once the fence is set up. "It’s a five meters high fence," Bezalel Treiber said.
Last November, work began on the fence in two segments of the border. The cost of the fence is estimated at NIS 1.35 billion (roughly $400,000). It will be connected to cameras and other technological tracking devices.
Thus far, 20 kilometers out of the total of 230 kms have been completed. Since work on the fence began, there has been a 50% drop in the number of infiltrators who entered the country.
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