Violence against African immigrants in Israel spiked once more as an apartment housing 10 Eritrean asylum-seekers was firebombed on Monday.
At least four residents suffered burns and smoke inhalation when trying to extinguish the blaze, in an attack the police are treating as arson due to graffiti saying “leave the neighbourhood” which was daubed on the property.
The attack occurred the day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the “swift deportation” of 25,000 immigrants from South Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ethiopia classified as illegal.
A law also came into effect which permits the jailing of immigrants who cannot be deported for up to three years in a detention centre, still under construction, in the Negev desert.
Tel Aviv has seen weekly violent demonstrations purporting to be against immigration and attacks on immigrants and their property have been witnessed across Israel.
On Sunday, Member of the Knesset Aryeh Eldad attempted to diffuse reactions to a statement he made during a tour of the site of a border fence being erected along Israel’s Egyptian border, the main port of entry for many immigrants, that anyone seen attempting to breach the fence should be shot.
Out of the 1,500 requests for asylum registered with the Israeli government between 2009 and 2011, two were accepted. It also has taken measures to prevent companies from employing anyone classified as an illegal migrant.