The mayor of an Israeli city has asked local residents to report the appearance of African asylum-seekers with a view to having them removed from the city, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Monday.
According to the newspaper, Petah Tikva Mayor Rami Greenberg has asked residents to report -- through a dedicated phone hotline -- any asylum-seekers they see in the vicinity.
“After creating an intelligence infrastructure, the municipality and the Immigration Authority will work together to remove them from the city,” Greenberg reportedly said at a meeting with Yossi Edelstein, head of the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority’s Enforcement and Foreigners Unit.
According to Haaretz, asylum-seekers from African countries are allowed to live and work in any city in Israel -- with one exception.
“The visas of 480 asylum-seekers who were [recently] released from the Holot detention facility prohibit them from working and living in seven cities, one of which is Petah Tikva,” the paper reported.
According to estimates, roughly 2,500 African asylum-seekers currently live in Petah Tikva.
Israel currently hosts roughly 33,000 African asylum-seekers, including 25,500 from Eritrea and 7,500 from Sudan, according to the UNHCR.
Most of them arrived in Israel via Egypt during the period from 2006 to 2013 before a security fence was erected along the border between southern Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
According to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an Israeli NGO based in Tel Aviv, most asylum-seekers are concentrated in Tel Aviv and other major cities.