The Jewish Telegraphic Agency website reports today (December 29, 2010) that a growing backlash is now occurring in Israel against an estimated 32,000 foreigners who are in Israel illegally -- many of them Africans who sneaked into Israel from Egypt and whose numbers have swelled in the past three years.
The rising chorus of anti-foreigner sentiment -- coupled with the recent edict signed by many Israeli rabbis against renting or selling homes to Israeli Arabs -- have prompted a national debate about the depth of racism and xenophobia in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers this issue to be so serious that he posted a statement on the You Tube website last week, calling for Israelis to end the current incitement.
In his statement, Netanyahu said, "We are a country that respects all peoples, whoever they are. Citizens of Israel must not take the law into their own hands, neither through violence nor through incitement."