Asylum seekers deportation deal draws mixed reactions

Hours after it was first reported that Israel had reached a deal with the UN whereby more than 16,000 asylum seekers will be deported while thousands more will stay in Israel, reactions ranged from full support to sharp criticism.
African asylum seekers and human rights activists protest deportation in front of the Rwandan Embassy Photo credit: Tomer Neuberg, Flash 90

The agreement between Israel and the UN to deport more than 16,000 African asylum seekers to Western countries has drawn mixed reactions.

Shefi Paz, one of the leaders of the pro-deportation campaign, called the agreement "a disgrace to the State of Israel" and said it reflects "the complete failure of the government's policy," adding, "The residents of south Tel Aviv will continue to fight."

Referring to the asylum seekers as "infiltrators," Tel Aviv city council member Shlomo Silwani said, "Just like a solution was found for 16,000 infiltrators, we expect a similar solution to be found for the rest of them."

"Until all infiltrators are deported, there will be no hope nor security for the residents of south Tel Aviv," Silwani added.

Left-wing politicians and human rights activists welcomed the agreement. MK Shelly Yachimovich called it "a great victory ... for the voice of reason and morality against racism and xenophobia."

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