The Israeli Cabinet voted unanimously Sunday to finance a $160 million program to stanch the flow of illegal African migrants by stepping up construction of a border fence and expanding a detention center to hold thousands of new arrivals.
Some 50,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have illegally entered southern Israel since 2006 through the porous border with Egypt's Sinai desert, according to government estimates.
The influx has sparked a national debate. Some Israelis fear the mounting non-Jewish arrivals will compromise the state's Jewish character. Critics also claim the migrants are an economic and social burden. But others don't want their country, which grew out of the Nazi genocide of Jews, to turn away people escaping persecution or conflict.
Addressing the Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the swelling stream of migrants is "a national scourge." Netanyahu, like other officials, said the overwhelming majority of infiltrators are not refugees escaping persecution, but instead have come to Israel seeking better economic opportunities.Read the rest at The Huffington Post
Israel Immigration Program Gets $160 Million