On Saturday morning, an unusual episode took place near my southern Tel Aviv apartment: A wedding procession. The minister wore a white cape and boasted a well-groomed beard and a cross on his chest. The groom and his friends wore fancy suits. The guests too wore their finest clothes for the event. I did not see the bride.
They sang, danced and rejoiced, possibly without being aware that newspaper headlines a day earlier dealt with whether to expel them or not.
When I saw these lovely people – you can call them refugees, infiltrators or asylum seekers based on your own views – and when I remembered Israeli weddings, where masses of guests raid the food as if there’s no tomorrow, I thought to myself: Who are we to brand these people as criminals, the spreaders of disease, violent or just unfriendly?
And then I recalled how one night I woke up to yelling and screaming, and when I opened the window I saw a group of African migrants waving planks and bottles at each other. I then remembered how one night the police stopped an Audi and pulled out a barely 16-year-old Sudanese, who apparently did not legally purchase the vehicle. So perhaps they are criminals after all and must be deported?
Well, the answer is that this is irrelevant.
It’s irrelevant because there are African criminals and rapists just like there are Jewish or Arab criminals and rapists. Yet despite this, I think they should be deported, for the same reason I think we should finalize a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians: Because I want to keep living in a Jewish state.
Because this is our only state, and because should we fail to curb the flow of infiltrators, the first Hebrew city, Tel Aviv, will not remain Hebrew for long. In 20 years, the Jewish state as a whole may not remain Jewish.
And also because we cannot afford to keep hundreds of thousands of people without basic rights and without work. If the alternative is to grant citizenship to every African migrant, I prefer deportation. This is all about demography.
As to the couple who got married near my southern Tel Aviv home, I wish them a happy life together; but not here.