Jun 11, 2012

African Migrants in Israel

David DolanBy David Dolan

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Over the past decade, thousands of Africans have entered Israel illegally, mostly via the porous southern border with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Israeli officials say Arab Bedouins help smuggle the migrants through Egypt to the Israeli border. Israeli workers are currently constructing a security fence along the border, expected to be completed by early next year. Officials estimate that at least 60,000 migrants have entered the country illegally, with some saying the number is actually twice that figure.

African migrants

Calls for Deportation‎

Although some of the migrants claim they are fleeing persecution in their home countries, especially in war-torn Sudan, officials say most are young males simply seeking to make money in the Jewish State. A majority of the African migrants are Muslims who have settled in poor neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv. Many are employed illegally by Israeli building contractors who pay them below the legal minimum wage. However many others have found no work at all, with some spending their days using illicit drugs or sleeping in local parks. A growing crime wave involving some of the migrants has added to calls that most be quickly deported from Israel.