Posted on May 24, 2012

Hundreds Demonstrate in South Tel Aviv Against Illegal Migrants

Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz, May 23, 2012

Over a thousand people demonstrated Wednesday night in south Tel Aviv, calling on Israeli authorities to expel illegal migrants.

The protesters, which amassed in the Hatikva neighborhood, shouted slogans against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and some held signs in support of Interior Minister Eli Yishai. Others held signs that read “infiltrators go home” and “south Tel Aviv is a refugee camp.”

Some of the demonstrators attacked passerbys, including African migrants. Trash cans were also lit on fire.

Nine people were arrested, some while they were beating Sudanese migrants.

One person was injured by a firecracker.

MKs such as Miri Regev (Likud), Danny Danon (Likud), Yariv Levin (Likud) and Ronit Tirosh attended the protest, which included a stage draped in a banner of Netanyahu with an Eritrean flag.

In a speech to the demonstrators, Regev said called the illegal migrants a “cancer in our body,” and promised to do everything “in order to bring them back to where they belong.”

Danny Danon, who heads a lobby group which seeks to deal with the issue of illegal immigration said that the only solution to the problem is to “begin talking about expulsion.”

“We must expel the infiltrators from Israel. We should not be afraid to say the words ‘expulsion now.’”

One resident of the neighborhood, told the crowd about how three Sudanese men accosted her in the Hatikva Park and tried to steal her purse. “They could have killed me,” she said. Another resident warned Netanyahu that residents were taking the law into their own hands.

“No one is going to warn you anymore,” the resident cried.

Similar protests were also held in Eilat, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Bnei Brak.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein expressed his support for returning migrant workers from South Sudan back to their home country. Israel’s State Attorney is set to turn to the Jerusalem District Court in order to lift the temporary order preventing the expulsion of illegal migrants.

The Ministry of Justice released a statement on Wednesday that the decision was accepted based on the position of the Foreign Ministry, which was formulated over the past couple days. According to the decision, illegal migrants from South Sudan will legally be able to be returned, only after it is established that they are not eligible for asylum.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently ruled that the returning of South Sudanese to their country must be done on a voluntary basis, due to the country’s instability.