In 1996, on Purim, a horrific terrorist attack ripped through Dizengoff Center in the heart of Tel Aviv, killing 13 citizens and wounding more than 100. A well-known Tel Aviv poet said in a radio interview immediately following the attack, "This time the terrorists managed to hurt us at home. Terror has entered our home."
The meaning of this remark was quite clear: As long as the terror attacks were being carried out in Jerusalem, Netanya, Hadera or Judea and Samaria, they were happening outside the home, and didn't warrant any serious attention.
I was reminded of this terrible Dizengoff Center terror attack in the context of the current debate over African infiltrators, who are steadily filling up Israel's cities. I was reminded of that attack because immediately following it, the government established the Counterterrorism Bureau and instructed the Israel Defense Forces to increase efforts to combat Hamas, the IDF raided Hamas strongholds in Hebron, checkpoint searches at border crossings were intensified and special electronic equipment was imported from the U.S. to improve surveillance.
That well-known Tel Aviv poet may have been right. As long as the African infiltrators gathered in Arad, Eilat, Sderot and the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the big cities, no one seriously dealt with the phenomenon that posed a danger to the fabric of life in those cities. But once the problem reached Tel Aviv, and began to trickle from the city's poorer southern neighborhoods into Ramat Aviv and other exclusive northern neighborhoods, the media couldn't stop talking about it and calling the relevant bodies to action. Initially, the media's arrows were aimed at the police, then at the Interior Ministry, and very quickly they were turned toward the government of Israel.
We are once again seeing that only when a problem reaches the center of "the state of Tel Aviv" do the bells begin to ring and action is taken.
Now the government of Israel can finally take firm action against illegal migration, something it has been prevented from doing so far by defenders of humanism and their lofty speeches on the Jews' obligation to protect refugees and trespassers. The bleeding hearts' self-righteous arguments on behalf of the illegal economic migrants are quickly quieted when they see thousands of infiltrators in their streets and in front of their homes, desperate for food, threatening their right to personal safety and their right to protect their property. These knights of human rights know full well that hungry intruders pose a real and immediate danger to the public's well-being.
Although I do not have access to any classified intelligence, it is clear to me that hundreds of thousands of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants are currently gathering in Sinai, seeking to infiltrate Israel. They may soon be joined by Egyptian job seekers, and possibly even unemployed individuals from Spain and Greece — all making their way to Israel. Though Egyptian forces sometimes fire at these infiltrators, there is no doubt that these hundreds of thousands of potential infiltrators can be used strategically as a weapon against Israel.
This problem surrounding the infiltrators, which media spin has turned into "refugees," must be addressed with an iron fist. The State of Israel should not have to solve Africa's problems. Israel is always ready to send aid and assist people in distress, but we cannot open our borders to everyone who wants in. There is no other nation in the world that took in millions of people from more than 100 countries and provided them with work and housing. It is now the world's turn to pitch in and contribute to resolving Africa's problems.
The Israeli government can learn a thing or two from the U.S. and other enlightened democracies on how to deal with infiltrators. Real problems are not solved by rolling one's eyes toward the heavens, but rather by taking a real look at the harsh reality that is taking shape — the sooner the better. We have already lost much precious time.