Just as the immigration debate has returned to the fore in the U.S., Israel, too, has been struggling over how to deal with its own illegal aliens. The problem peaked around 2011, when over 2,000 individuals were entering the country illegally every month, most of whom settled in lower-class neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv. In a recent decision, the High Court of Justice has blocked the government from forcibly deporting those illegal immigrants who refuse to leave voluntarily—a decision Yoaz Hendel finds troubling:
The Israeli government has formulated an immigration policy similar to [that of] other countries: an open detention facility [for those who enter the country without permission] and [then deportation] to a third country. The decision was reasonable and proper compared with what’s going on in the rest of the world, especially considering Israel’s size and its needs. . . .
[T]he High Court of Justice made a double error. The first was to . . . intervene in the government’s decision, and on one of the only issues on which it was able to put together a clear and orderly policy allowing for a serious and proportional mechanism. The second error was showing leniency instead of discussing policy. . . .
The end result is the same: as of now, Israel has no sanctions with which to operate against illegal aliens who refuse deportation. Israel [thus] has no immigration policy [whatsoever]. . . .
We are responsible to see to the care of those who are already here, but the residents of South Tel Aviv who are Israeli citizens should come before the illegal aliens, who are not. Both groups deserve personal compassion, but also a clear-cut policy. The High Court of Justice ruled out the latter option, leaving in place only leniency. . . . And that is a mistake.