Thousands of African migrants took to the streets of Tel Aviv for a second day to protest against their treatment by the Israeli government.
The demonstrators, mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals, are furious over a law that allows the detention of illegal immigrants for a year without trial.
Protest organiser Dawit Domuz explained why they had taken the action: “We escaped from war, we escaped from genocide, so we are refugees. The Israeli government must give us the basic refugee rights including the right to work, the right to social services and welfare… We are living here until the situation in our homeland changes.”
The protesters complain the Israeli government views their claims as bogus and sees them as migrant workers and infiltrators.
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz explains the government’s point of view: “Most of those immigrants came across the border illegally, in order to look for work… and we are trying to handle the situation and to encourage – not to force but to encourage – most of them to leave.
The government is offering an incentive of 3.500 US dollars for each of the estimated 53,000 African migrants in Israel to return home.