On Tuesday, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar toured south Tel Aviv neighborhoods to get a better understanding on the illegal infiltrator problem, saying, “There is a need to act to change the situation, and that’s what I intend to do”.
By Dan Lavie & the Israel Hayom Staff
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar toured south Tel Aviv neighborhoods on Tuesday to get a better feel for the migrant worker and illegal infiltrator problem in the area. Within the framework of his street tour — accompanied by a large police contingent — Sa’ar also met representatives of the south Tel Aviv neighborhood committee and visited small businesses in the area.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar speaks with African immigrants in south Tel Aviv on Tuesday. – Photo: Roni Shutzer
Following a gathering at Levinsky Park, near the central bus station, Sa’ar toured the Neve Shaanan promenade and the adjacent streets.
“This isn’t the capital of Eritrea here,” a woman told the interior minister. “Our residents here must be cared for.”
Meanwhile, a group of immigrants also gathered to speak to the minister, asking him to “save our lives.”
Sa’ar said that matter was “one of the most difficult, sensitive and fragile problems that Israeli society is dealing with. This problem wasn’t created in a day and it’s not advisable to create the impression that it can be solved in one day. We need to actively change the situation, and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.
About 60,000 Africans migrants, either looking for work or asylum, have come into Israel through Egypt in recent years, but rights groups say the government is too slow in examining asylum requests.
The number of infiltrators who illegally entered Israel dropped dramatically in September 2012 to 134, as opposed to nearly 1,300 in September 2011. The Israel Prison Service has completed construction of detention centers with a capacity of up to 2,000 illegal migrants.
Sa’ar’s predecessor, Eli Yishai, sought to implement hard-line policies to deal with the issue. In May 2012, Yishai said that if he had all the necessary means, not one African migrant would be in Israel within a year. “It was clear to me that the dimensions of this phenomenon would grow,” Yishai told the Knesset at the time. “I have long said that we cannot call these people refugees. Unfortunately, the previous government did nothing regarding this issue.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=8509