JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister said during a Knesset committee meeting that South Tel Aviv is “living under terrorism by illegal migrants.”
Tzipi Hotovely made the statement during a Knesset State Control Committee meeting Monday about Africans migrants seeking asylum in Israel.
Hotovely defended the government’s handling of the some 40,000 remaining African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, most of whom arrived between 2006 and 2012. Many of them are under threat of deportation to their countries of origin or a third African county in the coming months under a new system approved by the Knesset in December. Asylum seekers with open files cannot be deported.
“Israel is trying to do our best, we’re a small country, and we cannot absorb large waves of immigration,” she said. “Like any sovereign nation, we need to decide who can come in and come out. I don’t regret saying that south Tel Aviv is terrorized by infiltrators who are driving up crime rates and sexual harassment and making the streets unsafe for Israelis.”
A special Jerusalem appeals court for refugee issues on Thursday ruled that migrants from Eritrea who fled to avoid military service in the Eritrean army is a basis for receiving refugee status. About 72 percent of the migrants currently in Israel are Eritrean.
Hotovely told the committee meeting that the other countries to which the migrants would be deported, which she said she could not publicly name though they are believed to be Rwanda and Uganda, are “are very safe countries” where they can maintain a high standard of living, Haaretz reported.