Friday, December 9, 2011
Israel: Interior minister dismisses notion that some Africans are asylum seekers or refugees, says they are economic migrants
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai vowed to exert every effort to see that the last of the infiltrators return to their countries, referring to the some 50,000 African economic migrants, asylum seekers and refugees currently in Israel. Yishai dismissed the notion that Sudanese, Eritreans and other Africans in Israel have any standing to seek political asylum. "These are not refugees, these are economic migrants who want to come to Israel for work," he said. Their presence is an existential threat to the State of Israel, he asserted, vowing to defend the Jewish majority. The interior minister added, "Each and every one of them will return to their countries." The statements come as the government is advancing the construction of a detention center in the south to house asylum seekers and infiltrators and construction of a border fence along the Egyptian border is being accelerated. Netanyahu said of the infiltrator problem, "Israel is a small country. We cannot allow ourselves to be flooded by illegal work infiltrators. This threatens our society, our economy and our security. Therefore, we must expedite our dealing with the problem."