The Israeli government has been plunged into unprecedented panic by claims that the number of African migrants entering the country via Egypt is increasingly out of control. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the migrants a "serious national threat to the character of the Zionist state".
At the beginning of Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that the number of migrants from Africa is now 60,000, but warned that if the situation is allowed to continue the figure will reach 600,000.
Netanyahu promised his cabinet that he will look into effective means to prevent African migration to Israel. The phenomenon appeared 7 years ago, at which time the Israeli Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, a devout Jew from the Shas Party, said, "Those who believe that African migrants should be allowed to work in Israel are totally mistaken."
For the latest campaign against the Africans, Israeli officials have primed media outlets to focus on reports which "prove" that the Africans are rapists and thieves and have no right to migrate to "democratic" Israel. One of Netanyahu's ministers, Uzi Landau, has asked officials to deal with the migrants as a security and military threat rather than an economic and social risk. Landau has even called upon the Mossad and Shin Bet security services to deal with the matter in the same way that they deal with criminal gangs.
Israel's Foreign Minister, meanwhile, has commented on South Africa's decision to insist that products from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank are not labelled "Produce of Israel". Right-wing Avigdor Lieberman accused Pretoria of making a "racist" decision, adding, "Sadly, South Africa has been adopting a pronounced anti-Israel policy over the last few years." He made his comments after a meeting with Janet Napolitano, the US Secretary of Homeland Security.