Interior Minister Eli Yishai met on Sunday with the Eritrean ambassador and asked him to urge Eritreans to stay out of Israel.
Yishai asked the envoy, Tesfamariam Tekeste Debbas, to send a message to his countrymen, telling them that Israel is not a suitable destination for them, and that future illegal migrants will likely be imprisoned here.
Also on Sunday, Israel’s Population Immigration and Borders Authority decided, after a series of discussions with the Shin Bet, that illegal migrants who cross into Israel from Egypt will be detained for lengthy periods, rather than being permitted to move into Israeli cities.
This decision was made despite a law passed earlier this year, which limits the prison term of illegal migrants to three years.
Activists in south Tel Aviv welcomed the decision, but MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) said that long periods of detention are not only problematic but inconsistent with the UN’s Refugee Convention.
During a tour of the border fence going up in the south, National Union MK Aryeh Eldad said, “As impressive as this structure is, it will not be able to halt the influx of African migrants unless the army gets clear instructions from the prime minister, along with a signed letter from the attorney general, saying anyone attempting to cross the border will be shot.”