The number of African asylum seekers crossing the Israeli-Egyptian border reached a record high in May, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority revealed on Thursday.
The number of people crossing the border reached 2,031 for the month, compared to 637 who crossed the border in May 2011.
The report comes as Israeli politicians have increased efforts to halt the influx of illegal migration of mainly Sudanese and Eritrean Africans entering via the Sinai desert.
Construction of a 150-mile fence along the border has been sped up, and the government is pushing plans to repatriate many of the asylum seekers, particularly from South Sudan.
The barrier is slated for completion by October.
Estimates of the number of African migrants residing in Israel range from 60,000-70,000.
At last week’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the “flood” of migrants a “threat to the social components, security and national identity in Israel,” which Israeli must resolve “responsibly.”
Netanyahu’s statements came after a Tel Aviv anti-migrant rally turned violent; an angry mob attacked African passersby, lit garbage cans on fire, smashed the windows of a car containing African passengers, and looted a shop known to serve an African clientele.
A similar anti-migrant rally occurred on Wednesday night, though it was broken up by the police when protesters assaulted an Israeli of Ethiopian origin.