Hundreds of Israelis Protest Landmark Court Ruling on African Migrants

South Tel Aviv residents long blame the influx of African migrants for negative effects on the neighborhood.

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A few hundred residents of south Tel Aviv neighborhoods demonstrated Tuesday against the High Court ruling that overturned a law allowing the incarceration of African asylum seekers for up to three years.

The demonstrators blocked Hahaganah Street with permission from the police.

The High Court of Justice on Monday unanimously revoked an amendment to the Anti-Infiltration Law, saying it was unconstitutional and that it violates human rights. The court instructed the state to examine the cases of all those incarcerated under the provisions of this law within 90 days.

A significant portion of the African migrants who are in Israel live in south Tel Aviv. Veteran residents have long accused them of having a detrimental effect on both the neighborhood’s safety and its economy.

“This demonstration is only the beginning," vowed Shlomo Maslawi, a member of the city council and the chairman of the south Tel Aviv residents’ committee. "We expect the government to find solutions to this painful problem. We will continue to fight. We’ll also demonstrate outside the houses of the justices, who gave a holiday gift to the infiltrators and a slap in the face to us.”

Former MK Michael Ben-Ari, who addressed the crowd, accused the justices of being hypocrites. “The justices decided that our country is multinational, and they are bringing disaster upon us,” he said. “If they had a single infiltrator outside their house, they would call the police to throw him out of the neighborhood.”

Following the ruling Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar said that the court's decision would detract from Israel's ability to deal with illegal infiltration into its territory and added that alternatives to the discredited legislation would be examined.

In the ruling Supreme Court President Asher Grunis wrote that he does not see an obstacle to enacting a new law if it would state that the migrants be held for “a significantly shorter period than three years." 

Residents of south Tel Aviv demonstrate against landmark High Court migrant ruling.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
A resident of south Tel Aviv holding a sign reading 'we are detained without trial for more than five years.'Credit: Ofer Vaknin.

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