The Israeli parliament, Knesset, has approved a law allowing illegal African migrant workers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be held without any charges.
Under the new legislation approved on Monday, illegal immigrants face up to 12 months in detention.
The law also gives Tel Aviv the right to send “illegal immigrants” to complexes called “open facilities” — until they are deported or voluntarily go back to their homelands. Migrants kept in the open facilities will have no right to work.
Critics of the new law have described the open facilities as prisons, predicting the new law will be challenged in the Supreme Court.
More than 50,000 African immigrants currently work in low-paying jobs in Israel.
Meanwhile, a new report says Israel has the lowest living standards among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In its economic survey for 2013, the organization says Israel’s “average living standards remain well below the top-ranking OECD countries,” adding, “The rate of relative poverty [in Israel] is the highest in the OECD area….”
The report warned against severe deterioration of living conditions in Israel, saying, “The incomes of about one in five Israeli households fall below the poverty line.”
Many Israelis have been migrating in recent months to Germany and the United States. It is said that the Israelis are leaving Israel on economic grounds.
High taxes and low salaries have had adverse effects on the lives of Israelis, specifically the middle class, in recent years.
Discontented Israelis almost regularly take to the streets in Tel Aviv and other cities to protest against Tel Aviv’s economic plans and the painful austerity measures, which have raised income and value-added taxes and cut welfare benefits.
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