Photo Credit: Yaniv Nadav/Flash90
The border fence between Israel and Egypt in southern Israel.

The Population and Immigration Authority on Wednesday published its figures for 2018, which reveal that not a single infiltrator has entered Israel in 2018, while 7,957 infiltrators were expelled from the country and 3,490 left as part of a government plan encouraging voluntary departures.

The Egypt–Israel border fence stretches along the full 152 miles from Rafah to Eilat between the two countries, where the bulk of infiltrations from east Africa took place a decade or so ago. Construction work on the fence began in 2010 and completed in 2013, at the cost of $450 million. Since then the fence has proven to be practically impenetrable. The steel barrier project features cameras, radar, and motion detectors.


The total length of the US continental border with Mexico is 1,954 miles. At $2.960 million per mile—the cost of Israel’s border fence, and assuming equal costs in both countries—would be $5.785 billion. And there’s no need for a wall or steel slats. Who would scale this fence, motion detectors and all?

The border fence between Israel and Egypt in southern Israel. / Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

The new data show that 2,270 of the infiltrators who left Israel voluntarily were Eritreans.

Director General of the Population and Migration Authority Prof. Shlomo Mor Yosef stated on Wednesday that “there are about 35,000 infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan, and another 7,000 children.”

“They are in an interesting situation – the government tries to persuade them to move to a third country, but there is no third country willing to accept them,” he added.

Regarding their situation and living conditions, Mor Yosef said: “Today they are in the best situation they have ever had here. They can work freely in any job and all their children are entitled to free education in the Israeli system. They have health insurance with 100 shekel co-pay a month, and they are all entitled to urgent medical treatment in every hospital in Israel.”

Mor Yosef presented additional data according to which some 60,000 tourists continue to reside in Israel after their visas has expired, and another 15,000 foreign workers whose work permit is expired and they remain in Israel.

Altogether, some 100,000 foreign workers are employed in Israel in a variety of fields, including hi-tech.

According to Mor Yosef, “About 30 million people pass legally through Israel’s border crossings every year.”


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