Dermer to PM: African migrant deportation plan damaging Israel’s image — report

Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer has reportedly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that press coverage of planned forced deportations of African migrants to third-party countries, said to be Uganda and Rwanda, is damaging Israel’s reputation abroad.

Media reports on the plan are causing Israel “great reputational damage,” Dermer told the prime minister and other senior cabinet ministers, Channel 10 news reports.

Last month, the Knesset approved an amendment to the Infiltrators Law, mandating the closure of the Holot detention facility and the forced deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants and asylum seekers, starting in March.

There are approximately 38,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, according to the Interior Ministry. About 72 percent are Eritrean and 20% are Sudanese, and the vast majority arrived between 2006 and 2012. Many live in south Tel Aviv, and some residents and activists blame them for rising crime rates, and have lobbied the government for deportation.

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