Anti-African violence surges in Israel

2012-05-24 10:26

Jerusalem - Surging street violence against African migrants, including a rampage that an Israeli broadcaster dubbed a "pogrom", drew empathy for the rioters from the interior minister on Thursday.

Waving Israeli flags and chanting "Deport the Sudanese", residents of a low-income Tel Aviv neighbourhood where many of the border-jumpers from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan live held a march late on Wednesday that turned violent.

Police said 20 people were arrested for assault and vandalism. Trash cans were set alight, storefront windows were broken and a crowd attacked an African driving through the area, breaking his car's windows. No serious injuries were reported.

Interviewing Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Army Radio likened the incident to pogrom attacks on Jews in 19th century Europe. Yishai bristled at such language, citing police findings that Sudanese and Eritrean migrants were a crime risk.

"I cannot judge a man whose daughter gets raped. I cannot judge a young woman who cannot walk home," said Yishai, who heads a party run by rabbis in the coalition government.

"I cannot under any circumstances judge people who get abused and harmed, and who are then confronted by the state, which says, 'Why do you behave this way to the foreigners?'"

Growing numbers

Fleeing poverty, fighting and authoritarian rule, about 60 000 Africans have crossed illegally into Israel through the relatively porous desert border with Egypt in recent years.

That has jarred the Jewish state, with its already ethnically fraught citizen population of 7.8 million. Some Israelis warn of a gathering demographic and economic crisis while others say a country born after the Holocaust has a special responsibility to offer foreigners sanctuary.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said about 15% of city residents were "illegal foreign workers" and the number was growing. Interior Ministry data show 82% of the African migrants are men, 15% women and the rest children.

Israel says most of the migrants come seeking work rather than refuge, but this has been challenged by UN humanitarian agencies and civil rights groups. As a result, the Africans are kept in a legal limbo, many of them granted temporary permits but no clear permanent status.

The government is erecting a fortified fence on the Egyptian border and wants to deport the migrants.

But it has no ties with Sudan that would allow direct repatriation, and some humanitarian experts say it cannot force subjects of South Sudan and Eritrea back to those impoverished and ravaged states.

Recipe for suicide

Eritrea's ambassador to Israel, Tesfamariam Tekeste, said in a television interview on Tuesday that Asmara would admit its citizens who return voluntarily - but not deportees.

A 1 April expulsion order issued by Yishai against illegal South Sudanese was blocked by a Jerusalem court as it considers an appeal by Israeli human rights activists.

Unchecked, the number of Africans illegally in Israel could reach millions and overwhelm the citizenry, Yishai predicted.

"So what, the State of Israel, as the Jewish state, in the name of democracy, in the name of honouring UN resolutions, [should accept] a recipe for suicide?" he said.

"The truth has to be told, and believe me it is hard and it hurts, as we are the Jewish people, a merciful people."

David Gez, a senior Israeli police officer, said Wednesday's violence was one of several such anti-African incidents this month in Tel Aviv.

No violence

Oscar Olivier, a Congolese migrant, said on Army Radio that he has been in Israel for 18 years seeking refugee status and that the public mood reminded him of the assassination in 1995 of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an ultranationalist Jew.

"I feel like we're facing a former alcoholic who has started drinking again," he said in fluent Hebrew. "The question is not if they will kill an African because he is black, but when."

Olivier acknowledged the migrants posed problems for Israel but said: "There are professional, reliable, serious, and independent laws and judges. Let them decide what to do and how to do it - just without violence."

  • Fidel - 2012-05-24 10:56

    Racial purity alarmism encourages apocalyptic thinking that legitimises human rights abuse and violence, and scapegoat immigrants and other vulnerable communities. This stands in the way of greater global understanding and solidarity.

      James - 2012-05-24 13:27

      So you assert that Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya GDP around $ 2000 are = to say Sweden, Denmark Germany.GDP around $38,000. BTW what is your standard of "Human" Perhaps you should have a closer look at Lobola,Muti killings, Tokoloshe, Crime Rate. Black on White robbery 139x,Rape 100x more likely than the reverse. Ass Prof Alexander "50% of working age black male in US on Parole in Jail, on probation.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 13:46

      Another poster who love to spread his inbred bigotry and intolerance. I'd wondered when a fascist flamer would crawl out of the woodwork.

      James - 2012-05-24 14:07

      Oxford Dictionary, bigot; Someone who holds irrespective of reason. THAT WOULD BE YOU. FIDEL. "Inbred" Nope more like experience. First your DNA is within 3% of Ocean Invertebrate, Source Bio Chemist with PHD in Nano tech. Your IQ is - 15 points in the US. Your personal attacks are proof of your inability to refute the facts you imbecile. BTW Prof Dunning Cornell U concluded in a study that some people are too stupid to realize they are stupid.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 14:34

      A conversation so likely to be unproductive is not worth continuing. I do not counter rhetoric, so sue me that your head is so far up your azz that I'll rather verbally abuse you than give you anymore respect than you deserve. Oh, and get some new insults please, you've already used this one yesterday.

      Henry - 2012-05-24 14:49

      James The bell curve

      louis.frans - 2012-05-24 17:13

      Fidel - don't bother with James - he's probably a pale face classy from a dysfunctional family who was taught that anyone of colour is genetically inferior.He's parents probably didn't hug him enough when he was young, so he's walking around with this huge chip on his shoulder fretting about the homely love he never received.He's probably way to big and ugly for a hug anyway.His library consits of a book written by FW De klerk.If he is partnered - my sympathies are hereby extended to the opposite party.

  • Stirrer - 2012-05-24 12:09

    Hypocrites! For 2000 years the rest of the world gave sanctuary to the Jews during their diaspora (and still does, for those who have not repatriated to Israel), but now you want to deny the same courtesy to non-Jews? Shame on you.

      Rvn - 2012-05-24 13:24

      well its kinda the same thing with the south africans and the zims?

      Tax - 2012-05-24 14:11

      The jews werent criminals.

      Fidel - 2012-05-24 14:34

      How do you know, did you live among them?

      Tax - 2012-05-24 15:55

      @Fidel you arent very well read are you?

      Warren - 2012-05-24 16:59

      This isn't a Jewish/non-Jewish situation, this is a poor versus foreign poor situation, where they are fighting for jobs, while the rest of the population is concerned about security (if i have it correct). that is the same issue we have here with foreigners

  • Henry - 2012-05-24 13:15

    Accusing africans of rape and other crimes. Heavens,the whole world is racist against africans,bloody racists neh?

      faerrab - 2012-05-24 13:26

      The most convicted race group for the crime of Rape in the UK are Black.......

      Henry - 2012-05-24 14:55

      Faerrab I'm guessing here,but i think africans are a larger prison demographic in every country on the planet than the percentage of population they make in every country. As i said,the whole world is racist against poor africans

  • louis.frans - 2012-05-24 16:30

    Jews,particularly the zionists, have been playing the holocaust card for over 60 years now; and I daresay that it's become more than just tedious.Yet on a daily basis they commit holocaust like atrocities against the Palestinians.Their Jewish Hypocrisy knows no bounds.The Zionist Israelis are nothing but miscreants who occupy,rape,pillage,torture anyone they deem unfit-GOYIM.Nevertheless their shortsightedness will one day lead them into the abyss.Their Nazi like propoganda will not go on forever.How the world can give priority to the issues of global warming and hold various summits on this subject and other bear hugging plant kissing, tree loving GMO issues in the face of open genocide like atrocities inflicted upon the Palestinians by these reptiles, is inexplicable to say the least.

      Warren - 2012-05-24 17:08

      What atrocities? I can't remember hearing about a deliberate attack by Israel on these people. Israel is in the same boat as the USA and RSA: the rich neighbour getting flooded by the poor one. this isn't a religious issue in the same way as it isn't a religious one in USA or RSA, this is about adding pressure to an economy to support the poor and the criminals of its neighbours. good fences make good neighbours.

  • kathy.hellyar - 2012-05-28 15:40

    What i find so funny is how the World condemed South Africa for it's Apartheid.......which by the way means, 'seperate development',policy, and now it seems to me that most of those who boycotted us would love to have Apartheid emplimented in those very same countries.

  • Moeketsi - 2012-06-15 05:49

    xenophobia in israel, against africans waiting to hear what the world will say. or maybe they are just expressing their democratic rights. democratic rights ya eh no their inherent right

      jaba.kov - 2012-06-15 06:31

      africans moeketsi...from todays article, "Those who were arrested were mainly from South Sudan, but not only; there were also people from Nigeria, from Ghana, from Moldova, the Philippines." Im sure Moldova & Philippins is 'african to you. The war in Sudan is over and it’s high time these asylum seekers set off home to Sudan; seeing as their lives are no longer in peril. Its amazing and caring that the Israeli Government is giving these voluntary Asylum seekers an requirement Dollar value of R10,200 each to start their new lives back in Sudan - I have never seen such humane handling of illegals by any other Western government! It’s not surprising this story keep on coming up on News24 trying its hardest to make Israel look dreadful - with 60000 illegals in Israel I’m sure we will keep reading the same old repetitive articles every fortnight. There has already been a dozen of the much of the same articles on News24... so I will continue to similarly copy past my same comment.

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