Arsonists hit African migrants
IN THE latest violence against African migrants, Israeli arsonists set fire to a block of flats housing Eritrean migrants yesterday, spray-painting the words: "Get out of the neighbourhood" over the entrance.
Fleeing poverty, fighting and authoritarian rule, about 60000 Africans have in recent years illegally crossed into Israel through the relatively porous desert border with Egypt.
Israel says most of them come to seek work rather than refuge but this has been challenged by UN humanitarian agencies and civil rights groups, making deportation legally problematic.
Some Israelis warn of a gathering demographic and economic crisis; others say a country born after the Holocaust has a special responsibility to offer foreigners sanctuary.
"Two people were slightly injured from smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital," a police spokesman said.
Israel's foreign ministry condemned the arson attack.
"There is no justification for such a heinous crime that endangers people's lives," the ministry said.
Violence has surged against African migrants in recent months. There was a rampage a few days ago in a Tel Aviv neighbourhood that has become home to many of them.