As Israel implements a law aimed at stemming the flow of Africans entering the Jewish state from the south, Interior Minister Eli Yishai says Israel must protect itself from a demographic threat. Africans pose such a threat, Yishai says, because they don’t recognize that Israel belongs to “the white man.”
Aryeh Eldad, one of Yishai’s colleagues in the Knesset, wants immigrants to be shot on sight if they attempt to cross the border.
Reuters reports: Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have arrived in Israel in the past three years, and the pace has picked up to about 2,000 a month since December, for a total of 60,000 since the influx began.
Many migrants say they are fleeing persecution or war, but few have been granted formal asylum or refugee status, leaving many with temporary visas, subsisting on wages from menial jobs, swelling the ranks of the poor.
“The problem of the infiltrators must be solved and we will solve it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month, in remarks aimed at calming protests against migrants in Tel Aviv.
Yishai, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, told the newspaper Maariv on Friday he saw the African arrivals, many of whom are Muslims or Christians, as a demographic threat.
“The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream,” Yishai said, adding that Israel had its own health and welfare issues. “We don’t need to import more problems from Africa.”
“Most of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man,” Yishai said in the interview with Maariv.
Aryeh Eldad, a right-wing lawmaker, urged Israel to order its troops to open fire on any infiltrators who penetrated its borders, rather than only at those suspected of being armed.