African refugees in Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv.
African refugees in Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Israel's Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Wednesday that most of the migrants from Africa are engaged in criminal actions and should be placed in detention facilities. Yishai said that Israel is willing to provide financial assistance for migrants to leave.

In an interview with Army Radio, Yishai differentiated between refugees and asylum seekers, saying that "whoever is considered a refugee, and there are few, can stay. One cannot forsake the security of Israelis."

Yishai's comments came in the wake of increased reports of criminal activity among the migrant and refugee community. On Tuesday, four Eritrean asylum seekers were arrested in Tel Aviv in connection with the rape of a 19-year-old woman.

A police patrol sighted a suspicious gathering near the old central bus station in the Neveh Sha'anan neighborhood of Tel Aviv. As they approached they saw several men surrounding a woman who was crying for help, and arrested four suspects. The young woman was taken to the hospital, and later told the investigators that as she was heading home she was attacked by the group of Eritrean refugees. She said she was robbed, and then raped by at least one of them.

Also this week, the Foreign Ministry announced that the international law poses no barrier to deporting all 700 South Sudanese who live in Israel, but the government should examine the situation of every South Sudanese asylum seeker to ascertain whether their lives would be at risk if they were sent back.

The brief, which has been sent to several government agencies in the past few days, will form the basis of the government's June 3 response to the District Court for Administrative Matters in Jerusalem on whether Israel can lift the collective protection of asylum seekers from South Sudan.

Read this article in Hebrew.