MK Bar-On: African Refugees Entering From South a Major Risk

Bar-On says Israel will face 'geostrategic or meta-strategic trouble' if refugee issue is not dealt with.

Israel will face "geostrategic or meta-strategic trouble" if it doesn't resolve the problem of African refugees entering the country, Interior Minister Roni Bar-On said Monday.

Bar-On, who heads the special ministerial committee to deal with the refugee issue, said he plans to submit recommendations on the matter next week, but he refused to specify.

Since the beginning of May, nearly 1,000 refugees and migrant workers have sneaked into Israel from the southern border. Some 5,000 African refugees are entering per year - and the number is on the rise.

Bar-On said half of those reaching Israel from the south are from Sudan, and while those fleeing the Darfur region have been receiving much of the attention, they constitute only a quarter of the Sudanese.

All the same, many of the refugees can expect imprisonment, torture or death if they are sent back to their home countries. Many are from the Ivory Coast or Eritrea.

It appears that one of the primary tasks of the ministerial committee is determining which institution is responsible for arresting the refugees, because the data show that the recent wave of migrants began as arrests stopped.