Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday made a historic visit to South Tel Aviv for the first time in all his terms as Prime Minister. He came following a recent High Court of Justice ruling empowering government to deport illegal migrants, with some technical restrictions regarding deportation to a country other than their own. According to the community website of south Tel Aviv, Netanyahu came bearing the message that new resources must be allocated to deal with the severe problem of the southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods, which are collapsing under the burden of tens of thousands of illegal foreign infiltrators.
Despite the efforts of the Tel Aviv municipality and Mayor Ron Huldai to present the visiting PM with a clean and “normal” neighborhood, it was obvious that Netanyahu was grasping the difficult situation of the South Tel Aviv neighborhoods and the very real hardships faced by the residents every day.
“We are here on a mission, the mission is to give South Tel Aviv back to the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu told local residents. “We have a very clear policy. We deal with illegal infiltrators, not with refugees, illegal infiltrators, and the right of the State of Israel to maintain its borders and to remove illegal infiltrators from it – that is what we are doing here.”
“To that end, I came to hear directly, and I heard. I heard Sofia and I heard Ayala and I heard Rimona and I heard Shefi and I heard Oved and I heard Shlomo – I heard everyone,” Netanyahu continued. “Now, what I’m hearing is pain and terrible distress. People are afraid to leave the house, can’t leave the house. Sophia can’t get out of her house here, she needs a police escort to walk down her staircase, which is unacceptable.”
“We deal with it in three ways,” Netanyahu explained. “First, the fence. Without the fence there would not have been 40 or 50 thousand infiltrators, there would have been a million here. We stopped it, it’s already done. We built the fence, insisted on the fence and completed the fence with my constant monitoring until the execution was concluded.”
“The second thing: together with the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Minister of Culture and MK Ohana and many others and with the Minister of the Interior, of course, we will be greatly enhancing the enforcement vis-à-vis employers, in the face of lawless infiltrators, in the face of everything we need to confront to increase enforcement.
“I respect the High Court of Justice, even when I don’t agree with its decisions […] What should be done is what we are authorized to do legally – either we change the law of deportation, or we change the agreements that I worked hard to reach with the African countries, or we do both. We will give South Tel Aviv back to the citizens of Israel.”
“Finally, I want you to listen, to understand that we are serious,” Netanyahu told his hosts, “Just as they did not believe we would build the fence […] and I promised and delivered, likewise I’m going to deal with this problem. On Sunday, the government will hear a review, and at the same time I will set up a special ministerial committee headed by myself and I will create a round table […] and I will invite the residents and all the parties involved in this matter to come and follow up every month, every four weeks, in order to start promoting solutions.”
“As we blocked the infiltration with the fence, now we will carry out the enforcement and deportation, with the round table. You are invited to attend,” the PM concluded.