Netanyahu Planned to Hire 'Special Manager' to Deport African Migrants

PM meant to pay journalist and former diplomat lavish bonuses that would depend on number of migrants he managed to expel from Israel, according to report.

Haaretz Staff
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Haaretz Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to hire journalist and former diplomat Boaz Bismuth as a “special project manager for the expulsion of migrants,” Israeli financial daily Globes reported on Sunday.

Bismuth is foreign news editor and a senior analyst at the Israeli Hebrew daily Israel Hayom.

According to Globes, Netanyahu planned to hire Bismuth without a tender, paying him 30,000 shekels a month plus foreign-travel expenses as well as bonuses for arranging for the deportation of migrants — 100,000 shekels for the deportation of 500 migrants and 200,000 shekels for 2,500 migrants.

Globes said it had obtained a classified document that described the position as identifying, and negotiating with, states that agreed to accept the deportees. The Accountant-General’s Office and the treasury’s budget department approved these terms.

According to the report, Bismuth had been prepared to accept the job, which in the end did not go through.

After a stint as Yedioth Ahronoth’s Paris correspondent, from 1990-2004, Bismuth served four years as Israeli ambassador to Mauritania. He has been at Israel Hayom since 2008.

Last week the Knesset passed an amendment to the Anti-Infiltration Law that will permit new unauthorized migrants from Africa to be jailed for up to a year without trial.

Two months ago Haaretz reported a plan to offer $5,000 to any African migrant who agreed to leave Israel and promised never to return. Previously, under a “voluntary return” policy the state had offered any migrant who agreed to leave $1,500 and a return flight home.

Hundreds of Africans, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, accepted the offer and left the country.

African migrants stand in line to receive food at Levinsky park in south Tel Aviv, June 13, 2012.Credit: Reuters

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