Netanyahu oversaw the construction of a giant border fence stretching along the southern border in an attempt to quash the influx of tens of thousands of illegal African migrants.
According to the Interior Ministry, a total of 34,187 Sudanese and Eritreans illegally crossed the border from Egypt to Israel. As of now, anyone that has not yet been approved for asylum is set to be expelled by April 1 or face imprisonment.
“If it wasn’t for the fence, we would be at our wits’ end. Attacks from terrorists in Sinai," he said, constituted a significant threat to Israel’s security. But the “worst thing is the flooding of illegal infiltrators from Africa,” he told the crowds
“How could we guarantee a Jewish and democratic state with between 50,000 and 100,000 infiltrators each year? The number could have risen to 1.5 million,” he claimed.
Acknowledging that Israel is surrounded by extremist Islamist footholds and that the country was obligated to protect its borders, the prime minister revelled in the successes that the fence which he had advocated has had on stemming the tide of illegal migrants from the peninsula.
“We completed a tremendous operation—the construction of a fence that is 200 kilometers long on the Sinai border. There was strong resistance to the idea of the fence from Gaza to Eilat. They said it would cost so much money, who knows if it will work, but I believed in it,” he said.
While the crowds cheered Netanyahu, he was heckled in the middle of his remarks by one of the audience members, who shouted: "You’re choking Dimona. In Dimona no attention is paid to the people.”
Unfazed, Netanyahu continued his speech, calling on his listeners to “invest money in existing cities, not in new ones,” prompting a chorus of chants of adulation calling his nickname: “Bibi, Bibi!”