Israel is telling thousands of African migrants to leave the country in the next three months or face incarceration.
Israel has called on migrants from Sudan and Eritrea to leave “to their country or to a third country,” meaning Rwanda or Uganda. Those who leave before April will receive $3,500 airfare and other incentives.
Israel call the African migrants “infiltrators” and mostly economic migrants whose numbers threaten its Jewish character.
Later, on Facebook, Netanyahu wrote, “The government approved a plan today that will give every infiltrator two options: a flight ticket out or jail.”
But many of the African migrants say they fled conflict and persecution and seek refugee status.
Israel’s policy raises concerns about how the country treats refugees. There are also concerns about the truthfulness and transparency of the country’s leaders on the issue.
The Israel-based advocacy group Hotline for Migrant Workers has condemned the policy, saying expulsions “put the refugees’ lives in danger.”
The governments of Rwanda and Uganda are denying any deal with Israel to host thousands of African migrants.
The U.N. refugee agency said was “seriously concerned” by Israeli proposals and the policy secretive, not transparent and difficult to monitor. The United Nations refugee agency has expressed concern over the proposals.
Leaders of more than two dozen North American Jewish organizations sent an urgent letter to Netanyahu, pleading with him not to deport thousands of African asylum seekers from Israel, reports Haaretz.com, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel.
“We are concerned that if you move forward with these plans, the lives of thousands of individuals will be put in jeopardy, and the name of the Jewish State and the Jewish People will be irreparably stained,” the organizations wrote.
“As a people who were once refugees, and were once strangers in a strange land, we believe we have a special obligation toward refugees, whatever their religion or race,” they said.
- The Philadelphia Tribute
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