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Deportation Redux

Israel begins deporting and detaining non-refugee migrants.

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An African migrant from South Sudan watches television in Tel Aviv. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages))

Eight years ago, I rode along on Israel’s deportation campaign and talked to migrants like David Kofi, who said he was going to take the door the police broke down back with him to Ghana. Today’s headlines are jarringly familiar, though this time they’ve come after a wave of uglier moments, including racist riots, the casual and constant use of the word “infiltrator,” and this undeniable reality uttered by Interior Minister Eli Yishai: “I am a minister in Israel, not the African welfare minister.”

Israel Rounds Up African Migrants For Deportation [Reuters]



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yevka says:

And the week begins with a heaping serving of hasbara, because god knows we need to stoke up more war.

yevka says:

ginzy1 says:

The complaints on the use of the term “infiltrator” reflect either ignorance of modern spoken Hebrew or disingenuousness characteristic of “progressives” when it comes to Israel.

The term in Hebrew that is actually used (it may come as a surprise to some that Israelis don’t speak English among themselves & hence don’t actually use the term “infiltrators”) is מסתננים (mistaninim).  The term is used in the public discourse on the problem by **ALL**, right left & center, those opposed to deportation & those against it, to refer to individuals who sneak across the border into Israel for whatever reason.

The verb form להסתנן (l’histanen) means to sneak in to a place or sneak across a border undetected, usually illegaly.  It might also come as surprise to some that countries, including Israel (hard to believe) do have a sovereign right to control who crosses its borders, and where and when.

More critically, even though the term is generally translated as “infiltrators”, Mistaninim in Hebrew does not carry the pejorative heavy baggage that seems to be associated with “infiltrators” in English.  It merely denotes those who snuck across the border  (usually the one with Egypt) illegally, usually seeking work, sometimes as bona fide refugees from Darfur etc.  In other words it is purely factual and descriptive.

The problem of the mistaninim is a real one.  Just ask those Israelis in South T.A., Arad, Eilat, etc. whose neighborhoods, invariably poor ones, have become the favored destination for the Mistaninim.  Most of the so-called human rights activists who seek to stop the deportations live in far better areas, well insulated from the realities of the issue.

So if you want to discuss the problem, and it is complex one worthy of honest discussion, by all means do so.  But don’t harp on the terminology, particularly when doing so is at best ignorant and misleading.


Efrat / J’lem

Fred Capio says:

“Israel Rounds Up African Migrants For Deportation”Another inflammatory headline. Israel is NOT rounding up AFRICAN  migrants.Israel is rounding up ILLEGAL migrants.


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Deportation Redux

Israel begins deporting and detaining non-refugee migrants.

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