TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said Israel’s 120 mile barrier along the Egyptian border is preventing a “flood” of illegal African migrants from coming into the country, which is “worse” than terrorists in the Sinai peninsula.
Without the fence, “we would be faced with … severe attacks by Sinai terrorists, and something much worse, a flood of illegal migrants from Africa,” he said.
His comments come as Israel launches a campaign to deport thousands of illegal African migrants.
Infiltration both by terrorists and African migrants have stopped almost entirely since the wall’s construction in 2014. In 2017, not a single illegal migrant was able to infiltrate Israel from the Egypt border, according to data.
President Donald Trump referred to Israel’s barriers as an inspiration for his own border wall along the Mexican border.
Netanyahu said keeping the migrants out was necessary to preserve Israel’s Jewish, democratic character.
“How could we assure a Jewish and democratic state with 50,000 and then 100,000 and 150,000 migrants a year. After a million, 1.5 million, one could close up shop,” Netanyahu said. “But we have not closed down. We built a fence and at the same time, with concern for security needs, we are making a major investment in infrastructures.”
Following public outcry, the High Court recently stopped Israel’s campaign to deport single male migrants to third-party countries (most likely Rwanda and Uganda).
Last month, Netanyahu charged that George Soros was funding protests against the deportations, a claim denied by Soros. One of the most vocal opponents to the plan is the African Refugee Development Center, who said the ministry’s decision was a stain on Israel’s record that would last for generations. The Center is financed by the New Israel Fund, a radical Soros-funded NGO.