Israel May Cut Some 560 State Jobs to Fund Detention Center for African Migrants

Cost of facility in Negev expected at nearly half a billion shekels, according to Knesset committee proposal.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Israel will cut about 559 public sector jobs to pay for the construction and maintenance of a detention center for African migrants, according to a new proposal in Knesset.

The cost of carrying out recent additions to the anti-infiltration law is expected to reach NIS 440 million over the next year forcing the government to trim some NIS 145 million from the budget and draw another NIS 100 million from reserves.

The Knesset committee which published the plans under the title integrated and coordinated plan for dealing with the phenomenon of illegal infiltration, will submit them on Sunday to prime minister, interior minister and home front defense minister.

113 positions will be cut from the Finance Ministry, 72 from the Justice Ministry, 42 from the Health Ministry, 37 from the Education Ministry, 36 from the Defense Ministry, 34 from the Economics Ministry, and 30 from the immigration and population authority, among others. It appears many of the jobs that will be cut are positions that are funded but currently unmanned.

The proposal indicates the cuts that will be necessary in order to implement the new stipulations of the anti-infiltration, such as a new facility, an increase areas for migrants to concentrate, and increased enforcement. There is no mention funding education, health, or social welfare for the migrants that will populate the facility.

According to the proposal, the Defense Ministry will complete construction on the Sadot facility, located in southern Israel, in time for Israel Prison Service to open it on December 12. The facility, which will be open during the day and closed at night, will be completed on February 14, 2014, and will be able to house some 3,300 of the over 53,000 African migrants currently residing in Israel.

The government will immediately allocate NIS 25 million to the Defense Ministry for completion of the facility, and another NIS 59 million will be diverted to constructing a wastewater management facility. Afterwards, the government will allocate NIS 149 million to the Home Front Defense Ministry in 2014, which will also receive another NIS 358 million to be used for operating the facility. The Transportation ministry will receive NIS 6 million to create transportation lines to and from the facility. The immigration and population authority will receive NIS 34 million by the end of 2014, and will create 128 new positions to be filled by employees by 2015.

The proposal also stipulates that the health and social affairs ministers will decide, along with the finance minister, how to pay for and supply the facility with health and welfare services.

Israel is finalizing construction of a new detention center for African migrants.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

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