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Israel tells African asylum seekers: leave or face prison

Eritrean migrants protest for their rights in Tel Aviv, Israel on 11 July 2011 [Physicians for Human Rights/Flickr]
Eritrean migrants protest for their rights in Tel Aviv, Israel on 11 July 2011 [Physicians for Human Rights/Flickr]

Israel will give thousands of African asylum seekers 90 days to either leave or face prison, Haaretz reported yesterday.

The paper said the Interior Ministry's Population, Immigration and Border Authority has begun preparing to deport asylum seekers on the orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

"The cabinet vote on the deportation campaign was postponed due to a budget dispute between the treasury and public security ministry," it said.

There are currently said to be 27,000 asylum seekers from Eritrea, 7,500 from Sudan and 2,500 from various African countries as well as 5,000 children born in Israel to asylum seekers.

"The Interior Ministry estimates the total cost of its deportation operation at some 300 million shekels ($86 million) a year. This includes wages of Interior Ministry employees, deportation flights and money given to those who leave. For now, every asylum seeker who leaves the country will receive $3,500, but this amount will be reduced in the future," the paper added.

Unwelcome: African migrants hit by new tax in Israel

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AfricaEritreaIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineSudan
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