"This is an epidemic – in economics, society and internal security," he said during a cabinet meeting. "We are not obligated to accept illegal infiltrators. The refugees are a small drizzle in this steam. We'll continue to look after the refugees. We'll get washed away if we don't. It's no longer a choice but a necessity."
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Netanyahu discussed the security fence along Israel's southern border, saying the State plans to complete the construction as well as set up another detention facility for the infiltrators.
"Today we will finish (building) the security fence segment near Eilat. It's the hardest part topographically. The second stage will be to build detention facilities which will take in those refugees. We're going to raise the fines given to employers," the PM added.
Netanyahu meets with refugee (Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO)
As for sending back the illegal refugees back to their countries, Netanyahu stressed that he plans to travel to Africa and push for such arrangements to be made.
"It is very costly. This issue affects all of the economic components. We must secure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state," said Netanyahu.
"We've shown great restraint," remarked Interior Minister Eli Yishai earlier. "But even that has its limits. We'll be required to act on a much larger scale if this proceeds. I hope we won't reach that point. We're not looking for it, but if there'll be no other choice – we'll act."
According to Yishai, "once a detention facility is in place we'll be able to enforce (the law) immediately. They say I'm a racist, but late as it may be we must start getting them out. Those who want to can leave freely, and those who don't – we'll act in other ways. I pity the children of Israel. You can't turn Israel into a sanctuary for anyone coming from Africa. I have to worry about the Jewish majority in Israel."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also addressed the burning issue, saying: "Most of the ministers understand that blocking off the southern border to infiltrators is a Zionist act. We must not continue this. It's an urgent mission and we'll need to cut 2% to deal with this phenomenon. This applies to everyone without any exceptions."
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