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Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2010-08-30

Dealing with the influx of illegal immigrants

Israel has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of illegal immigrants arriving from Africa. Some of the new arrivals are pushing to be granted refugee status, fleeing persecution and war back home. But the Israeli government has been caught off guard by the sudden influx - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it a "threat to the Jewish character" of the country.

Thousands of African illegal immigrants are flocking to the Promised Land after fleeing persecution and violence in their homelands, a phenomenon prompting the Jewish state to consider fundamental issues.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared what he calls “the recent flood of illegal workers infiltrating from Africa" into Israel a “concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country." The Jewish state has been caught off guard by this new phenomenon and has yet to formulate Israel's immigration policy on this issue.

Netanyahu says that most Western nations have already taken action in this domain. Among the measures that local authorities are thinking of putting in place is a fence. Six months ago, Netanyahu visited an area near the border between Israel and Egypt in order to examine the possibility of a fence being installed to prevent illegal border crossings.

By Gallagher Fenwick

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