Israel Passes Harsh Immigration Law (Video)

A law which could lead to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers has been passed by the Israeli parliament.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voted for the bill, which his spokesman called part of a “multitiered strategy to deal with the challenge of illegal immigration to Israel.”

The bill has been sharply criticized by refugee advocates, and is seen as targeting some 50,000 Africans who have entered Israel illegally since 2005, according to Israeli government estimates.

And in a country built by refugees, it has caused some soul-searching with the conservative Jerusalem Post in a November 11 Editorial saying:

Now with a sovereign country of its own the Jewish people must not only serve as a moral example of how developed countries should deal with refugees and asylum-seekers, but also make sure that a strong Jewish majority is maintained in a sovereign Jewish state.

The law is the first one dealing with refugees – until now they have been managed under an emergency law from 1954.

The amended law will enable the Israeli authorities to hold in administrative detention for up to three years migrant workers and asylum seekers with their children. This is not unusual, although harsh. Australia, for example, also holds asylum seekers in detention for long periods, although it is retreating from that policy because of the growing evidence that it produces serious mental harm. Contrary to that trend, the Israeli law’s proponents argued that long detention periods would deter refugees.

Anyone who is fleeing from a so-called “enemy” country can be held indefinitely. This can mean those refugees and their children fleeing genocide from the Darfur region of Sudan or gays fleeing Iraq. The law stipulates that persons originating from such countries or areas are not to be bailed from detention under any conditions.

Any refugee or migrant committing the most minor infraction of Israeli law could be jailed from three years to life.

“This is extremely irregular, because in Israel today it is legally impossible to keep a person in custody for years without putting him on trial and proving his guilt in a legal procedure,” Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon told the Constitution Committee last month.

The law will criminalize what it calls ‘irregular entry’ and makes no provision for those fleeing persecution.

It creates a summary removal procedure — within 72 hours — without giving the individual an adequate opportunity to challenge their deportation. There is no distinction made for how children will be treated.

The Justice Ministry had proposed that those aiding refugees could be criminally prosecuted — providing them with shelter could mean a prison sentence of between five and 15 years. That provision was amended at the last moment, so it no longer applies to organizations or people who provide humanitarian aid.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has called the law:

“one of the most dangerous bills ever presented in the Knesset.”

Israeli activist Elizabeth Tsurkov wrote that:

The law is designed to target the weakest of the groups living in Israel – survivors of genocide, civil war, prolonged servitude, torture and rape – by using a law originally intended to combat armed saboteurs. Past attempts to pass this law (which was first drafted in 2006) were foiled due to a harsh public response. However, following years of systematic incitement against refugees by Israel government officials, the Israeli public now largely sees refugees as illegal migrants, undeserving of sympathy, and as a result, this inhumane law has now become reality.

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The Africans reaching Israel face appalling conditions on the way. NGO EveryOne Group reported only yesterday about 44 more Eritreans kidnapped for ransom in the Northern Sinai, including six children. They also reported that another African released by traffickers had then been tortured and shot in the leg by Egyptian police.

There have also been multiple, grisly reports of migrants in Egypt being targeted for body parts.

Video by STOP The Infiltration Prevention Law campaign – Hotline for Migrant Workers (Israel).

Related stories:

Israel Proposing Indefinite Detention of Refugees (Video)

Mental Harm Caused by Prolonged Immigration Detention

Migrants in Egypt Targeted For Body Parts

Photo by runran


Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

@David E. thank you for your reply. Who were the Phillistines that Israel was fighting in the bible and the Torah? And where was their land? Delilah was a Phillistine woman. Where was she from? And if Moses was going to a land promised to them by god (hilarious!) for the first time. Where did they come from before they had gone into Egypt? I have a bible that I sometimes look into for research and also for a time when I may run out of loo roll, as the bible has the thinnest pages to wipe my arse, But in Samuel 23 verses 12-16, David is fighting the Phillistines whose garrison is in Beth-lehem. That was his last battle.
Yes I know it's all fiction as is Shakespeare, but we debate Shakespeare and other fiction so why can't we debate this one? There are many holes in the bible story, such as the ones I mentioned and though my ideas may seem ludicrous to some, it isn't as ludicrous as the bible! Or any religious book which isn't based on science, but on myths. But imagine the ramifications if the Palestinians are Philistines? Then Israel is bang smack in the middle of the land of their traditional enemies! It's terrifying!

David E.
David E6 years ago

Will R. seems to be misinformed about both Judaism and Jewish history.

For example, it took 40 years for Moses to reach the Promised Land because he wanted to avoid and not fight againt the powerful Philistines who lived in the coastal plain. It would have been much shorter, but he chose the longer route and entered thru Jericho.

The Philistines have nothing to do with the Palestinians. The term Palestina came from the Greeks and the Romans who invented the term to disassociate the Land of Israel from the Jews. Later it was used only by the Europeans to designate the Holy Land. The Ottomans who ruled the area for over 500 years never use the words Palestine or Palestinians.

1475 BC: Thutmose III conquers Canaan; beginning of Egyptian domination of southern Canaanite plain.
1175 BC: Ramses III defeats the Sea Peoples including Philistines and settles captives in fortresses in southern Canaan (alternatively, Philistines invade and settle the coastal plain for themselves).[8]
1150 BC: final Egyptian withdrawal from southern Canaan.
10th–7th centuries BC: Philistines lose most of their distinctive culture and absorb that of surrounding peoples

Illegals are illegals regardless of color. Read my entries from Jan 16 and Feb 7.

I will not go into Judaism at this point.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

Maybe if Hitler had not killed all the brown Jews, leaving the white ones, their attitudes to blacks would have  been better.
Anyway! Aren't nearly all the people in Israel immigrants? They hate the blacks because they are black. "Swartzers" (derogatory Jewish racist term for blacks)
We just had the Eurovision song contest and Israel is a member. ...Of Europe! I know they're all of European ancestry, but they could at least not flaunt it, their germanness is already too evident in their insistence of building a copy of the Berlin wall and concentration camps such as that outdoor one called Gaza. But that is the objective, to have a white outpost in the middle of the Arabs.
Contrary to public belief, 4000 years ago Moses was NOT going BACK to the promised land. He was trying to find one. That's why it took 40 years! It was a planned military conquest of the Phillistines and their lands. (for Philistines read; Palestinians)
A friend explained the significance of Israel now being a European country, it would mean that jesus is now a white man like what Michelangelo painted instead of being a north African within walking distance of the grain stores of Egypt like Joseph and his 11 brothers, and his aged father Jacob. But history, logic or geography has no place in religion. Even when backed with their own documented evidence. 
That Judaic culture is now based on 18th and 19th century Russian customs, including food, language, dress and music that no one seems to fi

David E.
David E7 years ago

Joan - How many of these asylum seekers are really asylum seekers or just illegals looking for a better life? I repeat for you - Before lecturing others look around and note how many illegal immigrants live in your apartment building, on your block, in your neighborhood, go to your schools and/or are members of your country club. In fact, how many are yours or your childrens friends? Stop being hypocrites .

If they are legitimently seeking asylum, they should get it in the first country they arrive which is Egypt. If they really are refugees, then the UN should take care of them and Western countries should open their doors. Israel has enough problems and cannot be responsible for an influx of illegals whether refugees or not. Now that South Sudan is an independent country, Israel has the right to send them back. Israel has taken responsibility of the many Jewish refugees which the rest of the world has ignored.

Joan Mcallister
7 years ago

I think this is wrong, what have these poor people done they are not responsible for the wars & famines that have devasted their countries, all they want is a place to stay, food to eat and a place to raise their children instead what they face is 3 years in prison. Now I know immigration is a tricky thing, but lets not close the doors on these people

David E.
David E7 years ago

The USA was also built on immigration, but not a free for all. Immigration must be legal. The Europeans were too lenient and now look at the mess they are in. Before criticising others look around and note how many illegal immigrants live in your apartment building, on your block, in your neighborhood, go to your schools and/or are members of your country club. In fact, how many are yours or your childrens friends? Stop being hypocrites .

Giovanna M.
Giovanna M7 years ago

All immigration issues are complicated. Still it is shocking Israel is acting so. Not only was the ocuntry built for immigrants, they have an immigration tradition that goes back centuries. Maybe they should think whether their attitude differs so much to what they have complained has been done to them for so long. I'm sure Palestinians see them as forced immigrants too.

Bernard Cronyn
7 years ago

So Mike Chrissie you seem to have a raging hard on for "Jews" in spite of all the left wing "Humanitarian - I'm a Christian and love everyone" hog was - tell me what are you doing about refugees in your neck of the woods? How many do you share your house with? How often do you go off to Washington DC to persuade your representative to tear down the US borders and let the world in? How many refugee air fares to the USA have you paid for recently? Have you got the guts to answer any of these questions?

Fred H.
Fred H7 years ago

I guess immigration is a problem which only affects those countries that people want to get INTO, rather than the ones which people want to escape from. Or to put it another way, I guess Israel's enemies don't have to worry about this sort of thing.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

On the other hand, we can’t stick our heads in the sand and ignore the situations that immigration, in the current world, provides. They are many. How do you keep the thieves, criminals and terrorist out, while providing a safe home for those in need? How do you take care of those who have no skills, no money and do not speak the language of the land? How about education for their children? If we are going to have an immigration policy should it not have programs to deal with those situations I just mention? Should there be some kind of cap for the number of immigrants from each country, along with emergency provisions for those whose lives are endangers? Should the immigration population be shared among countries in a proportionate method, smaller countries and larger countries taken their fair share; and what do we do about the inequities existing? Should those immigrating to a large country like the United States be told where they will be living so that the costs and the immigrant population are share more proportionately? And there are many more questions. Our governments must understand that this is not an American, Canadian, Western problem it is a world problem and it must be handle by the world body and leadership. And we know the root cause is not going to be solved by immigration alone. Immigration should be a short-term solution, fixing the root cause(s) should be our short AND long term goal.