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Maina wa Njuguna

Israel’s beleaguered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday ordered a plan to remove all African migrants in the country because they were a threat to the Jewish character of the state.

This followed a violent fracas in Tel Aviv between Eritrean asylum seekers who oppose the regime in Eritrea, the pro-regime activists, and Israeli police.

Saturday clashes. Image credit /Yonatan Sindel/

Opponents of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki disrupted an Eritrean embassy event held by the regime’s proponents.

The violence saw over 170 people injured, including some police officers and damaged the building.

It is widely reported that longstanding antagonism toward African asylum seekers are deeply held in the country.

Israel’s 150 miles (242 kms) long southern border fence /Courtesy/

Over 30,000 Eritrean migrants live in Israel. Most migrated between 2007 and 2014. Since Israel built a southern border fence between the Gaza Strip to Eilat on the Red Sea, migration from Africa diminished significantly.

A section of the fence was raised from 16.5 feet (5 meters) high to 26 feet (8 meters) high to curb breaches in 2015.

In 2018, Israeli migration authorities were forced to abandon a plan to forcibly remove all African migrants following a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court.

Israel’s Supreme Court. Image /Courtesy/

Today’s Israel is a very different place where the Jewish political hard right are in power. Most of the country’s political contentions surround the balance of power between the legislative body, the Knesset and the judiciary, The Supreme Court.

The governing coalition hard rights’ agenda has continually ran into a wall because the Supreme Court welds power has nullified laws that are unconstitutional. In April this year, the Knesset passed a package of laws meant to curb the court’s powers.

The Netanyahu’s administration claims that it wants to restore balance of power because the Supreme Court has gained too much power. The courts proponents insist that the court-limiting laws are designed to consolidate the right-wing’s power and ultimately threaten Israel’s status as a democracy.

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