Newspaper article The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Danny Danon, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Few know about Israel's illegal-immigrant predicament in recent years. Although this issue presented our country with significant challenges, we have worked hard and done something about it.
Over the past decade or so, Israel has become known as an oasis of internationally successful high-tech startup companies. This has led to an unending number of businessmen and entrepreneurs who come here to learn about our locally developed innovations that are used all over the world. Perhaps it is time for some key decision makers involved in the American immigration debate to come over and observe our very effective solutions to this problem that concerns many Americans.
While the international community often chooses to focus on traditional and terrorist threats against Israel, the issues of illegal infiltration from Africa presented the Jewish state with another national security dilemma. Since 2005 alone, more than 60,000 sub-Saharan Africans have illegally crossed our southern border after trekking thousands of miles across the continent and then finally through Egypt. This may not sound like a large amount of people to Americans or even Europeans, but for a country of slightly more than 6 million, continual immigration at such a pace would have meant a constant and growing threat to the Jewish nature upon which this country was founded.
In addition to the demographic threat from illegal infiltrators, the massive influx of undocumented (mostly) men into Israel's urban centers also wreaked havoc on the social fabric of our society. With little prospects for legal employment, and desperate to send funds and help their families back home by any means, we experienced a serious uptick in crime related to these illegal immigrants. Israel, which was built upon the ethos of caring for those who need it most, ended up funding education, health and other social-welfare services for these undocumented people, who did not contribute their fair share to the national budget.
Fast-forward to the second half of 2013. We are now looking at a completely different picture. Since January, a total of 34 people have succeeded in breaching our border with Egypt. That is a decline of more than 99 percent from the 9,570 who succeeded in doing so during the first half of 2012. How did we do this? Faced with all these problems, the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take a number of rational steps that succeeded in stymieing what once seemed like an unstoppable tsunami of illegal immigrants.
Working together with the Knesset, a series of bills were signed in to law that made Israel a much less hospitable place for those who illegally crossed our borders. …