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Eritrean migrants protest outside U.S. Embassy

(JTA) — Some 500 Eritrean migrants demonstrated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to protest what they say is the political persecution they are experiencing in Israel.

The protesters on Friday demanded that the U.S. establish a mechanism to determine eligibility for refugee status, Ynet reported. They carried signs that read "We want protection," "No to deportation" and "US, save us." They say that Israel wants to send them back to Eritrea, where an oppressive regime rules the country.

Israel has been grappling with how to best handle the estimated tens of thousands of African migrants who have made their way illegally into the country in recent years. 

Earlier this week, 150 South Sudanese migrants were deported.

In a message on June 28 to migrant workers from the Ivory Coast, Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai reportedly said, "You have two weeks to leave. Whoever does so will be eligible for a subsidy. Whoever does not will be thrown out."

Ivory Coast migrants who choose to leave on their own will receive $500 per adult and $100 per child, The Jerusalem Post reported.

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