Israel Interior Minister: Israel “Belongs to the White Man”
KultureKritic.com Staff Writer
In an interview with Israeli newspaper Maariv on Sunday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai stated that “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man.”
The “Muslims” the Interior Minister was referencing are the 700 South Sudanese refugees currently living in Israel, according to the British Independent. The refugees were previously granted permission to stay in the country, but the government has successfully argued for their expulsion in court, on the basis that their region became independent in 2011.
The statement comes on the heels of a measure granting Israeli authorities the authority to detain illegal immigrants for up to three years, and making all migrants and seekers of asylum prone to jail time if they stay in the country for an extended period of time.
The new law is an amendment of the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law, originally passed as an emergency measure to prevent Palestinian entry. It is believed to stem from a series of violent demonstrations in Tel Aviv and elsewhere against Africans in the country. Migrants affected by the amended statute need not pose any threat to Israel’s security.
The law also increases the circumstances under which migrants can be detained, adding minor offenses such as graffiti and bicycle theft. Activists are already speaking out against the measure, with the Hotline for Migrant Workers saying it is “born in sin,” and calling its passage “a dark moment for Israel.”
Approximately 60,000 Africans, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, have crossed Israel’s southern border since 2005, according to the Huffington Post. The nation hopes to expel 4,500 of them with this new measure.
As for Yishai, he further stated in the interview that he plans to continue “the struggle” against migrants until the end of his term, adding that he would “use all the tools to expel the foreigners, until not one infiltrator remains.”
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