Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a planeload of illegal migrants would be returned to South Sudan, and he called the repatriation “orderly and dignified.”
Migrants reportedly began boarding buses Sunday afternoon headed for Ben Gurion Airport where a plane load of 120 illegal migrants was scheduled to leave Sunday evening.
“We have a Jewish tradition of treating strangers humanely, and even when we need to deport them from our midst due to the state’s desire to control its borders, we must do so humanely and in a manner that finds expression in a restrained and humane manner,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu also announced that a second plane bound for South Sudan would leave next week.
He added that as of last week, infiltrators are placed in detention and can be detained for years. New detention facilities are being built, he said.
Netanyahu also thanked the members of the “Oz” unit, responsible for identifying and arresting the illegal migrants. “They do important work under difficult conditions. I ask them, I am also certain that this is how they operate, to continue treating humanely those infiltrators whom they detain. I also request this, in word and deed, from public officials.
The Population, Immigration and Borders Authority announced at the end of last week that it would extend the one-week deadline for illegal migrants from South Sudan to voluntarily leave the country, receiving a cash grant and a flight home in exchange.
Meanwhile, a firebomb was thrown Saturday night at a bar in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood where migrants from Eritrea gather. One man was wounded.
Firebombs were thrown last month in two separate incidents at apartments in which several African migrants lived.