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Africans Out, Walmart In, ISIS Contained

Israel Begins Handing Out Deportation Notices to African Migrants

Tamar Pileggi and Michael Bachner, Times of Israel, February 4th 2018


Israel began serving deportation notices to Eritrean and Sudanese migrants. According to the Israeli government, migrants will be sent to an unnamed African country with a relatively “stable government” and the “highest economic growth figures in Africa.”

The Context:

  • Africans began migrating to Israel in 2005 after word spread of safety and job opportunities in Israel. To stop the flow of illegal immigration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition built a border fence, cutting the number of illegal crossings by more than 99% and reducing the population of African migrants to 40,000 [1]. In December, the Knesset passed a bill authorizing the government to force the migrants out of the country. Holot, a detention center used to detain African migrants in the Negev, is scheduled to close in six weeks [2].

  • Israel refused to publicly divulge which African countries agreed to absorb the migrants although many speculate it is either Uganda or Rwanda. Under the plan, migrants that voluntarily leave Israel will receive $3,500 and a plane ticket. The 20,000 people not held in Holot are expected to leave within 60 days or risk being imprisoned [3].

  • Groups of Israeli pilots, doctors, writers, former ambassadors and Holocaust survivors appealed to halt the deportations, saying “the history of [the Jewish people] obliges the state of Israel to be a paragon in treating children and adults seeking refuge from ethnic cleansing [4]." Experts also assailed the Immigration Authority for not properly examining requests for asylum. The agency handled 6,600 requests, of which only 11 were approved [5].

  • The government accused its critics of cynically invoking comparisons to Jews in Nazi Germany with Netanyahu saying, “genuine refugees and their families will remain in Israel” and “[Israel] has no obligation to allow illegal labor migrants who are not refugees to remain here.” Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Israel’s first obligation was to its own citizens, not migrants [6].

Conversation Points:

  • Will the expulsion of African migrants cause damage to Israel’s self-described image as a light unto the nations?

  • Must a nation’s responsibility to its own citizens always come at the expense of its responsibility to migrants?

  • Are critics unfairly comparing Israel to Nazi Germany in order to invoke a specific reaction from the public?

  • Should Israel be held to the same standard as Europe and the US, whose populations are considerably larger and more diverse, when it comes to migrant absorption?

Israel Said Part of Secret Coalition Monitoring IS Fighters Returning from Syria

Times of Israel, February 5th 2018


Israel is a member of a secret intelligence alliance, consisting of 21 nations, that targets European jihadists returning home from fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS).

The Context:

  • 40,000 people from around the world fought alongside IS as it declared a caliphate in Syria & Iraq in 2014. In late 2017, the group suffered an overwhelming defeat, losing 96% of the territory it once held. Many foreign fighters have since sought a way back to their home countries.

  • Israel, Germany and 19 other countries are working in tandem to prevent IS attacks on European soil [7]. The operation, known as “Gallant Phoenix,” is led from a US Command center in Jordan.

  • For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones carried out 100 covert air campaigns inside Egypt with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi [8]. The coordination began after IS brought down a Russian charter plane in the Sinai, killing 224 people [9].

  • Israel’s Shin Bet estimates that approximately 50 Arab-Israeli citizens fought alongside IS in recent years.

Conversation Points:

  • Is the Israeli-Egyptian collaboration the most dramatic evidence yet of a quiet reconfiguration of politics in the region?

  • Do shared enemies bring the leaders of several Arab states into growing alignment with Israel — even as their officials and news media continue to vilify the Jewish state in public?

  • Has the ongoing threat of attacks from IS and other terrorist organizations made Europe more understanding of Israel’s defense tactics?

Is Walmart Coming to Israel? Netanyahu Says the Door Is Open

David Wainer and Yaacov Benmeleh, Bloomberg, February 4th 2018


Israeli officials and senior Walmart executives met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the retail giant opening a branch in Israel [10].

The Context:

  • Walmart operates 11,700 stores in 28 countries, employing 2.3 million people.

  • 300 multinational corporations maintain local operations in Israel. Amazon is preparing to open a massive distribution center near Modi’in and Booking.com & Alibaba recently opened operations in Israel.

  • Israeli officials are willing to “ease regulatory burdens wherever possible to make the market more accessible to (Walmart) [11],” however, any regulatory exemptions offered to Walmart would also be available to local competition as well.

  • Shares of Shufersal, Israel’s biggest supermarket chain, fell 3.2%, while Rami Levy, second to Shufersal, dropped 2.6% [12].

Conversation Points:

  • Should the Israeli government be obliged to protect Israeli companies from foreign competition?

  • Will Walmart survive in Israel if it doesn’t offer a substantial amount of kosher certified foods?


  1. Israel prepares to deport African infiltrators, issues warnings, David Rosenberg, Israel National News, February 4th 2018

  2. Israel Issues Deportation Notices to African Migrants, Al Jazeera, February 4th 2018

  3. Ibid.

  4. 25 legal experts write AG to decry migrant expulsion policy, Tova Tzimuki and Telem Yahav, Y Net News, February 4th 2018

  5. Ibid.

  6. Cash or custody: Israel kicks off deportation of African migrants, Maayan Lubell & Elana Ringler, Reuters, February 4th 2018

  7. Ibid.


  9. Secret Alliance: Israel Carries Out Airstrikes in Egypt, With Cairo’s O.K, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, NEW YORK TIMES, FEBRUARY 3RD 2018

  10. Aiding Egypt, Israel Conducted 'Over 100 Airstrikes' Against ISIS in Sinai, Haaretz, February 4th 2018


  12. Ibid.


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