Thousands of African migrants staged a huge protest in central Tel Aviv yesterday in opposition to Israel's new migrant detention policy, the Euro News website reports today (January 6, 2014).
Three weeks ago, the Israeli parliament passed a law which allows authorities to detain migrants without valid visas indefinitely. Since then, dozens of men mainly from Eritrea and Sudan with families to support have been arrested.
Social worker Noa Erental expressed her sympathies with the migrants: "The problem is that people who want human rights and came here to a democratic country, searching for a safe place, are sent to prison. They are treated as prisoners, as a cancer. Some people call them cancers in Israel."
The new government measure has also drawn criticism from the United Nations Refugee Agency. It accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not conforming to the 1951 world treaty on the treatment of refugees. Some 60,000 African migrants currently live in Israel.