Interior Minister Eli Yishai ordered the Immigration and Borders Authority on Thursday to begin working on returning migrants from the Ivory Coast to their country of origin.
“The Ivory Coast infiltrators are next,” Yishai declared. “You have two weeks to get out of the country.”
The minister added that those who left voluntarily before the deadline would receive a grant of $500 per adult and $100 for each child. Those who missed the opportunity, however, would be forcibly expelled.
Beginning next week, immigration authorities are expected to begin seeking out Ivorians, as well as stepping up the crackdowns on local businesses who have illegally employed migrants.
The move follows the recent forced return of hundreds of South Sudanese to their homeland earlier this month. Because Israel has diplomatic relations with South Sudan, it can deport citizens. Migrants from Sudan and Eritrea, however, are considered asylum-seekers and must be given safe haven under international law.
Israel no longer classifies Ivorians, of which there are an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 in Israel, as being entitled to protection from war or oppression.
Earlier this week, the Jerusalem District Court rejected a plea from 132 Ivory Coast citizens to be allowed to remain in the country.
Authorities reported that the recent moves to expel Africans have resulted in many voluntarily making inquiries about being returned to their home countries.
Tensions between Israelis and migrants have risen over the past months, following a number of violent crimes and rallies in South Tel Aviv, where many of them live.