No African migrants entered Israel in August

JERUSALEM (JTA) — No migrants from African countries such as Sudan and Eritrea entered Israel in August.

Some 193 illegal African migrants entered Israel from its border with Egypt during August 2012.

“The fence has completely blocked illegal migration – also an extraordinary achievement,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday in making the announcement at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. Some 168 African migrants also left the country voluntarily during August, according to reports.

There are about 55,000 illegal African migrants in Israel, most from Eritrea and Sudan. Most are economic migrants, seeking a place to make a better life for themselves. At one point, hundreds of African migrants were entering Israel each month.

Last week Israeli media reported that Uganda has agreed to take in African migrants willing to leave Israel, and either absorb them or serve as a transfer point to their countries of origin. Ugandan officials have denied the reports, though Israeli officials reportedly say the deal was verbal.

Last year Israeli erected a fence along with sophisticated surveillance, to keep out the infiltrators.