Interior Minister: We Will Fine Mayors Who Employ African Migrants

Eli Yishai tells Israel's Channel 2 news: Fines will make ciy mayors hire Israelis; more than 1,100 people signed a letter petitioning Attorney General for legal action against MKs in anti-migrant rally.

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Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Thursday that he plans to fine mayors of Israeli cities who employ migrant workers.

Yishai told Israel's Channel 2 news that authorities that employ infiltrators will be "personally fined."

"We will also start to enforce this so that they do not employ infiltrators. They will employ Israelis instead, the place of infiltrators is in the countries that they came from," the interior minister said.

Yishai added that he condemns the behavior of members of Knesset over the past day: "The struggle would have been handled much better without the unnecessary fervor of politicians over the past day," he said.

Those close to Yishai explained that until now, the policy of fining city mayors had only been used against municipal heads who were found guilty of unlawful expenses, such as embezzlement.

Yishai will send out a letter this coming week to city mayors, in which he will instruct them pay heed to an interior ministry circular from 2011 over the employment of migrant workers.

The Tel Aviv municipality said in response that, "The municipality does not employ illegal infiltrators and has even approached contracting companies it works with to request they act according to the law, and not employ infiltrators."

Meanwhile, more than 1,100 people signed a letter distributed by the head of the Peace Now organization Yariv Oppenheimer, demanding a criminal investigation of the MKs who addressed the anti-migrant protest in in Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood on Wednesday.

The letter, which was addressed to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, urged a criminal investigation against Likud MKs, including Miri Regev, Danny Danon and Yariv Levin.

"It is clear to us that our request is unusual, but the situation is unusual.. and dangerous," the letter said. "Without the active and decisive action of law enforcement agencies, including starting proceedings against the members of Knesset who stand at the top of the wave of agitation, the speeches and slander will translate into real harm to human life."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu condemned the actions of demonstrators and Knesset members on Wednesday, when demonstrators attacked African migrants in South Tel Aviv.

President Shimon Peres said on Thursday that "hatred of foreigners contradicts the foundations of Judaism."

Meanwhile, dozens of Israelis and Africans demonstrated in south Tel Aviv against Wednesday's anti-migrant violence on Thursday evening.

In Jerusalem, some 150 people demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's Residence. An additional protest against incitement to violence against migrants is planned to take place on Friday.

Read this article in Hebrew

Interior Minister Eli Yishai.Credit: Alon Ron

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