Law on ‘infiltrators’ passes first reading

February 1, 2016  

The Knesset Assembly has approved the first reading of the Law to Prevent Infiltration (Offenses and Jurisdiction) (Amendment Number 5 and Temporary Order), 2016.

The bill calls for a temporarily rule that illegal immigrants would be placed in a holding facility for no more than 12 months, a reduction from the current period of up to 20 months that was rejected by the Supreme Court.

The explanatory notes to the bill explain that the Court found it unconstitutional to hold illegal immigrants for so long, as it seriously and disproportionately harms their legal rights to freedom and respect. The court also rejected section four of the previous law, which called for creating a holding center, on the same grounds.

Following the ruling, the government began putting together a more proportionate replacement in order to judge its effectiveness in dealing with the phenomenon of illegal immigration and its effects.

Twenty members of the Knesset supported the bill in its first reading, while 12 opposed. It will now be sent to the Interior Committee for treatment.

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) criticized the proposal, saying, “Every time that you bring a bill dealing with the subject, the Supreme Court tells you to look at the substance and not at the technical issue of how many months. No country puts refugees into prisons. The situation in Holot in unbearable.”

The head of Rozin’s party, Zehava Galon, called the bill a “disgrace” and added: “The Holot facility must be closed. You are talking about the situation in southern Tel Aviv, and who is responsible for the situation there if not the government that wanted to pit one population against another? This law is a humanitarian crime and an ethical disgrace.”

MK David Bitan (Likud) responded to MK Galon, saying, “Enough with this self-righteousness. We aren’t against refugees but it’s time to deal with the problem. We need to solve the problem of the residents of southern Tel Aviv.”

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