Saharonim - Eliyahu Hershkovitz - 22.11.2011
Saharonim detention center, Nov. 22, 2011. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present to the government on Sunday a plan to address the influx of illegal migrants from Africa. The plan will be allocated approximately NIS 630 million and will be funded by cutting 2 percent from every government office's budget.

According to the proposal, NIS 280 million will be invested in completing the fence on the Egyptian border and adding another segment near Eilat. In recent years, NIS 1.5 billion were invested in the fence, and 70 kilometers of it have already been built. Officials at the prime minister's office said the entire fence – which will stretch for 240 kilometers – will be completed in less than a year.

The plan will also include enlarging the Saharonim detention center in Ketziot, which currently has the capacity to hold 2,000 detainees. After the construction is complete, it will be able to hold 5,000 detainees. The prime minister's office said that the detention center "will allow holding illegal infiltrators for long periods of time in accordance with the law."

Netanyahu plans to invest NIS 250 million in constructing another holding center for infiltrators, which will hold people who cannot be returned to their home countries or to a third country. In this facility they will receive shelter, food and health services. Another NIS 100 million will be allocated to maintain the facility.

In addition, the prime minister's office said that guidelines for deporting illegal immigrant will be established. Another step will be amending legislation in order to increase fines imposed on employers of illegal immigrants, and in some cases even to close their businesses down.
"The plan is meant to deal with the phenomenon of illegal job-seekers," Netanyahu's office said in a statement, stressing that refugees will continue to be treated in accordance with the law.

Netanyahu said on Tuesday that "Israel is a small country, we can't afford a flood of illegal job-seekers. It is a threat to our society, our economy and our security."