Thousands of migrants to be sent to West as Israel reaches agreement with UN
Speaking about the deal on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Canada, Italy and Germany would host at least 16,250 migrants. The agreement nullifies Israel's original plan to forcibly deport the migrants to Africa, which was set to come into effect on Sunday.
The agreement "will allow for a larger number of immigrants to leave Israel than the previous plan, and [this will be done] under the auspices of the UN and the international community,” according to a statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
According to the statement, the agreement will be carried out in three stages over five years, at the end of which "the reality of life in south Tel Aviv and the surrounding neighborhoods will significantly improve."
Israel originally planned to deport asylum seekers that refused to voluntarily leave the country to several African states.
On March 24, an estimated 25,000 migrants and their supporters rallied in Tel Aviv against the deportations, which were set to begin in April.
Speaking last month, Netanyahu insisted that “a flood of illegal infiltrators from Africa” into Israel would be more damaging to the country than terrorist attacks.
“We’re talking about a Jewish and democratic state. How could we have guaranteed a Jewish-democratic state with 50,000 then 100,000, then 150,000 infiltrators each year?” Netanyahu said.
Israel had offered illegal asylum seekers $3,500 and free plane tickets to “a safe third country” if they voluntarily left the state before April 1.