Tel Aviv Residents Form Group to Press for Deportation of African Migrants

Dozens of activists convene to urge government to deport all African migrants, but stress they oppose violence.

Dozens of residents of south Tel Aviv and activists from other cities convened on Thursday to urge the government to deport all African migrants. But the organizers stressed that they oppose violence, deeming it both wrong and counterproductive.

"It was very hard for me at first to say 'expulsion,'" said attorney Ronit Cohen-Oren of Tel Aviv. "But people forget that human rights don't belong only to those who come here as guests; they are also the rights of those who live here."

Yesterday's event was the first organized by the Action Committee to Remove the Infiltrators, a new group set up to unite activists from all towns with a high concentration of African migrants.

MK Danny Danon (Likud ) told the assembled activists that the goal was to deport all the migrants. "We're here today to send a clear message that this situation can't continue," he said. "This isn't a problem of Hatikva or Neveh Sha'anan [south Tel Aviv neighborhoods], but of the State of Israel."

Shlomo Maslawy, chairman of the Hatikva neighborhood committee and a Tel Aviv city councilman from the Likud party, said that while dozens of migrants have been deported recently, "at the same time, hundreds entered, and thousands more will come."

He said the organization is planning many activities aimed at returning the issue to the public agenda, including tours of south Tel Aviv for politicians, a big demonstration in Jerusalem, and efforts to dissuade apartment owners from renting to migrants.

Likud MK Danny Danon at the Knesset in May 2012.
Kobi Kalmanovitz