An African migrant carries an Israeli flag following his court-ordered release from the Israeli Holot Detention facility, which is located near the Israeli-Egyptian border.
An African migrant carries an Israeli flag following his court-ordered release from the Israeli Holot Detention facility, which is located near the Israeli-Egyptian border. ABIR SULTAN

Leave or be jailed: Threat to refugees

THE Israeli government has ordered thousands of African refugees and migrants to leave the country within three months or face prison.

The Population and Immigration Authority has called on those from Sudan and Eritrea to leave "to their country or to a third country”, meaning Rwanda or Uganda.

Those who leave by the end of March will be given $A4500, along with money to cover their airfare. But those who do not have been threatened with jail.

Children, the elderly and victims of human trafficking are exempt from the action.

Campaign group the Hotline for Migrant Workers condemned the move, saying expulsions "put the refugees' lives in danger”.

Thousands of Africans crossed from Egypt into Israel before it erected a fence along the border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls them "infiltrators looking for work” and says they are mostly economic migrants whose numbers threaten its Jewish character.

But many of the roughly 38,000 "infiltrators” in the country have fled conflict and persecution. - Tom Batchelor, The Independent



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