The Israeli government is re-examining the status of Eritrean migrants to see whether civil rights have improved in the country. Tensions between the local population and African migrants are increasing.
Reports were from local media, which said that the government had asked the opinion of Israeli Immigration Policy Center, a private organization that has long supported the deportation of the estimated 30,000 Eritreans in Israel.
So far 8,500 Eritreans have requested political asylum but only eight have been granted it. NGOs supporting migrants are alarmed and say that the Eritreans' safety would be at risk if they returned to their country of origin.
Obligatory savings fund
A new law came into force at the beginning of the month on the basis of which employers pay 20 percent of African workers' wages into an obligatory savings fund that the migrants will have access to only when they leave Israel.
Some social centers call it ''another expedient'' to encourage migrants to leave Israel without officially deporting them. In addition to the 30,000 Eritreans, there are about 10,000 Sudanese in the country.
High tensions in Tel Aviv
The slashed wages have significantly worsened African migrants' living conditions and may further aggravate existing problems in Tel Aviv's poor areas where migrants are concentrated. The Israeli parliamentary body, the Knesset, is in these days discussing the situation in the poorest areas of Tel Aviv, where friction is increasing between the indigent local population and African migrants. ''There is fear in the streets. A battle ready that could explode has been created,'' one MP has warned.