While much of America’s media required smelling salts last week to revive itself from being grievously offended by a harmless wisecrack Don Rickles made about Obama, it barely noticed that Israel was ramping up efforts to detain and deport illegal African immigrants. Whether you prefer to dub the estimated 60,000 African expats currently in Israel as “migrants,” “refugees,” or “aliens,” in January the Knesset legally defined such types as “infiltrators.”
“They are close to being expelled either willingly or against their will,” Israeli interior minister Eli Yishai gloated. Late in May, Yishai, head of the floridly nationalist Shas party, had warned, “The infiltrators are going to reach the promised land but they aren’t going to see it at all, only through bars.”
Those bars are currently being constructed in southern Israel’s Negev Desert as part of a massive detention facility and adjacent “tent city” designed to hold an estimated 11,000 such infiltrators, most of whom are Eritrean and Sudanese. With construction expected to be completed in a few months, the giant desert prison will be the world’s largest such holding facility. An Israeli defense minister was careful to point out that the giant sandy Alien Detention Spa will feature hair salons and basketball courts.
“Anyone that penetrates Israel’s border should be shot,” Aryeh Eldad, member of the nationalist Hatikva party, recently said after touring the detention facility’s construction site. “Whoever touches Israel’s border—shot.”
Also scheduled to be completed later this year is a high-security 16-foot-tall steel wall running 150 miles along Israel’s border with the Egyptian Sinai—the “Great Wall of Yahweh,” if you will.
On Thursday, after weeks of street violence against Africans, an Israeli court allowed the detention process to begin.
Last Monday in Jerusalem, arsonists had set fire to an apartment that housed ten exiled Eritreans, four of whom required hospitalization. The attackers also spray-painted GET OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD onto the apartment building.
Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the “swift deportation” of illegal African immigrants back to South Sudan, Ghana, Ethiopia, and the Ivory Coast.
Starting around 2005, Israel experienced a sudden invasive demographic herniation of sub-Saharan Africans who had escaped chaos in their homelands and fled north into Egypt, only to discover they weren’t wanted there, either. Their supporters call them refugees and their detractors call them welfare leeches and labor scabs.
Israel, whether you choose to view it as an ethno-state, a veiled theocracy, or some Dairy Queen Blizzard of the two, is notoriously stingy when it comes to granting asylum requests. Whereas Canada is said to rubber-stamp 96% of Eritreans who seek sanctuary amid its frosty borders, heat-baked Israel reportedly only approved a single asylum request in 2011 out of nearly 5,000 formal applications.
Before the new deportation process was greenlit on Thursday, African asylum-seekers were legally permitted to stay in Israel but were forbidden from working there. Scattered throughout the country but concentrated in south Tel Aviv, some found low-paying under-the-table jobs and cheap housing, while others found nothing and huddled together in public parks.
Soon came murmurs, then grumbles, then full-throated shouting about how the dark-skinned Third World non-Jewish primitives threatened Israel’s demographic integrity, how they speak a different language, worship a different God, seem unwilling to assimilate, and how they steal jobs and depress wages. Rightly or wrongly, they were accused of infecting the Promised Land with all manner of degeneracy, stupidity, and icky African filth. They were fingered for sending the crime rate up into the ionosphere, although official Israeli parliamentary data would seem to contradict this. As is the rule in these sorts of pogroms, the infiltrators were blamed for straining the national housing, healthcare, and educational systems. Critics complained that Israel was suddenly receiving more illegal immigrants than legal ones.
As the intruders’ numbers swelled, so did the ferocity of the rhetoric against them. Eli Yishai of the Shas party said the unwanted new guests had rendered southern Tel Aviv into “the country’s garbage can” and were routinely raping and infecting Israeli women with HIV. (In 2009, possible germophobe Yishai prognosticated that the infiltrators would come bearing gifts of “hepatitis, measles, tuberculosis, AIDS, and drug [addiction].”)
Last Wednesday, the Shas party’s website featured an open letter addressed to “the Sudanese,” accusing them and their sub-Saharan cohorts of creating a “society personifying a social time bomb of robbery, violence, sodomy, as well as assimilation alongside the destruction of the institute of marriage and the proper family unit.”
Shas is quite the mean-spirited entity. In 2010 Ovadia Yosef, the head of the party’s Council of Torah Sages, declared, “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world—only to serve the People of Israel.”
All righty there, mister. Guess we both know who’s not getting a Christmas card from me this year!
On May 23 at an Israeli protest against illegal African immigrants in south Tel Aviv, Likud parliament member Miri Regev took things up a notch: “The Sudanese are a cancer in our body,” she told the crowd. “We will do everything to send them back where they came from.” Although 52% of Israeli Jews agreed with her statement, Regev apologized—not to the Africans, but to cancer patients and any Holocaust survivors who may have been offended by the metaphor.
Emboldened by such comments, Israeli nationalists stormed into the streets, smashing and looting African-owned shops, chasing and beating random Africans, setting trash cans ablaze, throwing firecrackers at police horses, firebombing houses, and tossing a Molotov cocktail into a kindergarten courtyard while chanting things such as “THIS IS NOT AFRICA!,” “SEND THE SUDANESE TO SUDAN!,” and “BLACKS OUT!” Toronto’s Globe and Mail christened these events “race riots” that created “a problem of biblical proportions.”
To be fair, it ain’t as if the Torah encourages the Israelites to act warm and fuzzy toward perceived interlopers.
In late May as the kettle really began to boil, Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the illegal immigration problem “threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.” He prophesied that “If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000….”
Hey, look on the bright side. At least it’s not six million.
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