Dozens of African Migrants Arrested in Tel Aviv

Michal Rosin condemns arrests in south Tel Aviv, saying actions of immigration inspectors 'inappropriate for democracy.'

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Dozens of African migrants were arrested Monday evening in the vicinity of the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station by inspectors from the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority. The inspectors were accompanied by Border Police and police on horseback.

Human rights activists reported that the immigration inspectors arbitrarily detained over 100 migrants and put them on two buses, in some cases using force.

The migrants were taken to the authority’s facility at Ben-Gurion Airport, where their visas were checked. Some 30 of the migrants, who held expired visas, will be held in Saharonim Prison for 90 days, after which they will be transferred to the open detention facility at Holot, in the Negev. The remaining migrants were ordered to report to the Holot center within 30 days or face imprisonment.

The Authority has increased its enforcement operations against illegal African migrants since the Holot facility opened two-and-a-half weeks ago. Migrants from Sudan and Eritrea who live in Israel's cities have been ordered to report to Holot within 30 days.

“The campaign that is being conducted in the streets of south Tel Aviv and other locations with a concentration of asylum seekers can only be described as a human hunt,” wrote MK Michal Rosin (Meretz,) chairwoman of the Knesset’s committee on foreign workers, to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. The actions of the immigration police are inappropriate for representatives of a democratic state, Rosin said.

In addition to the use of excessive force, men with families have been detained, leaving dozens of women and children alone and without assistance, Rosin wrote. That in a situation in which it is very difficult to make a living, even when there are two parents at home. In addition, added Rosin, there are shortages of basic necessities in both Holot and Saharonim and many of the migrants in those facilities do not even have shoes.

The Population and Immigration Authority rejected the accusations of violent arrests.

African migrants try to obtain visas in Tel Aviv.Credit: Motti Milrod

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