The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, chaired by MK David Amsalem (Likud), on Sunday debated the Entry into Israel Bill, which seeks to significantly stiffen punishments for employing or housing Arabs who reside in Israel illegally. The bill would also extend by two years the temporary order forbidding Israelis to transport illegal residents. On Monday the committee approved the bill for its final vote in the Knesset plenum.
The legislation consists of two bills that were cobbled together: one submitted during the previous Knesset by MKs Yakov Margi (Shas), and Mordhay Yogev, Nissan Slomianski and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi), the other bill is now being sponsored by the government.
Since the latest wave of terror began last September, 73 terror attacks occurred within the “green line” out of a total of 223 attacks. Of the attacks inside the “green line,” 27 — 44% — were carried out by illegal Arab residents. The figures were presented to the committee by the legal advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, Yoel Hadar, who called to increase the efforts against illegal residency as a means of reducing the number of terror attacks.
Committee Chairman Amsalem lauded Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) for “providing the ‘toolbox’ which allows law enforcement authorities to better deal with the difficult reality.” He stressed the importance of sealing holes in the security fence and issuing more work permits to PA Arabs. “Those who have permits have something to lose, and so do their sons,” Amsalem said. “We want them to make a living rather than join the extremists.”
MK Yogev also said the bill “is another tool in the toolbox, which must also contain intelligence, operations and deterrence.” He added that he, too, was in favor of issuing more work permits to PA Arabs.
The proposed amendment to the Entry into Israel Law states that a one-time employer of illegal workers will be subject to up to two years in prison. Those who employ more than one illegal worker, or hire an illegal worker for more than 24 hours, will face up to four years.
The bill sets a minimum fine of roughly $2,600 and a maximum of about $58,000 for one-time employers, while for those who employ more than one illegal worker the minimum fine will be $5,200 and the maximum about $77,000. In cases of corporations employing illegal workers regularly, the minimum fine will be $10,400, and the maximum $116,550.