Interior Ministry reported Sunday that 400 Eritrean refugees had
arrived at the UN offices in Tel Aviv, announced that they had crossed
the border from Egypt into Israel last week and applied for refugee
status in Israel.
According to the Yossi Edelstein, director of the Interior
Ministry's Population Administration's Foreign Workers' Enforcement
Unit, said "IDF forces apprehended them shortly after they had crossed
the breached border between Israel and Egypt, but due to a glitch in
communication between the IDF and the Shin Bet (internal security
service), they were let go, despite the fact that Ketziot Prison in the
Negev has 500 places to house them in.
have no idea how they got to Tel Aviv or what they're living on," added
Edelstein. "We're looking into what we can do for them, along with the
Immigration Administration… Israel is doing all it can to help the
refugees, but we can only take in so many."
The 400 Eritrean refugees have already been preceded by hundreds of
refugees from Sudan, who infiltrated Israel last week. They choose to
come here, said a source in the Interior Ministry, because Israeli is
rumored to grant them refugee status.
sources negated the possibility of the UN giving the Eritreans refugee
status, due to Israel's limited resources and strong objections. The UN
has granted refugee status only to those fleeing the Darfur genocide.
Israel has previously granted protective status to Eritrean
refugees, but according to diplomatic sources, the State had notified
the UN that those arriving after December 25, 2007 will be considered