Hundreds protest African migrant influx in Tel Aviv

Attorney General green lights deportations to South Sudan

South Tel Aviv residents protest the influx of migrants in their neighborhoods in May 2012. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
South Tel Aviv residents protest the influx of migrants in their neighborhoods in May 2012. (photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Hundreds of people protested in South Tel Aviv on Wednesday night against the inflow of illegal aliens and migrant workers from Africa and to demand a government response to the influx.

Many of the immigrants are from Sudan and Eritrea, with many of the Sudanese seeking refuge during the now-finished Sudanese civil war.

Twelve people were arrested during the protest on suspicion of attacking foreigners. One vehicle with three African migrants was attacked. The car sustained minor damage and none of the occupants was injured.

Protesters held signs noting their frustration with recent incidents of violent crime, including “Our streets are no longer safe for our children,” “The craziness of our life: Neglect, crime, rape and violence,” and “Yesterday it was my daughter, tomorrow it will be your daughter,” Ynet News reported.

The same report quoted one resident as stressing the need for security while understanding that a certain level of compassion towards the migrants is needed.

“The infiltrators are taking over our neighborhood,” another resident said. “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu must find an immediate solution. The prime minister must see to it that [the infiltrators] are provided with food, but first he must guarantee our security.”

Several physicians recently warned that dozens of African asylum-seekers carrying communicable diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, and chicken pox could cause an outbreak of illnesses in the Tel Aviv area.

Several politicians, including Interior Minister Eli Yishai, have recently called for the deportation of all but those officially designated by the government as refugees. His comments, made last week, came on the heels of the arrest of four Sudanese and Eritrean men in Tel Aviv on suspicion of carrying out a brutal rape.

On Wednesday, Yishai ordered the Immigration Authority to prepare to deport some 700 Sudanese illegal immigrants and their families, Israel Radio reported.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein met with Netanyahu Wednesday evening and presented the prime minister with a legal brief that said Israel can deport illegal immigrants from South Sudan to their country, now that it has declared its independence.

The foreign ministry has recommended the deportation of South Sudanese migrants who do not qualify for political asylum.

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