Work has just begun on a planned 30-kilometer border fence being put up by Israel on its border with Jordan in the south of the country, Channel 2 reports.

The fence will run from Eilat north to the Samar sand dunes and will join a series of other fences Israel has on borders around the country, including a recently completed fence on the Egyptian frontier.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to the south, points to the European refugee crisis as proof for why Israel needs the fence.

“We see today what happens to nations that lost control over their borders,” he says.

Terrorism and illegal migration show how important it is to secure the country’s borders, he adds.

Speaking hours after putting the kibosh on Israel granting Syrian refugees asylum, he defends his position saying that Israel does have “empathy toward the great humanitarian catastrophe occurring around us.”

“Israel was the first country that provided humanitarian aid to the victims of the wars in Syria,” he says.

Jerusalem also gives aid to Africa, he adds, but reiterates that Israel is a small country that cannot take in more refugees.

The budget for the new fence, which is to be finished within less than two years, is NIS 280 million.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Hungary and Bulgaria had turned to Israel for help building a border fence to keep migrants and refugees out.

The Samar sand dunes (CC BY-SA Amnon S, Wikimedia commons)

The Samar sand dunes (CC BY-SA Amnon S, Wikimedia commons)

— Raphael Ahren contributed

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