by WorldTribune Staff, February 5, 2018
Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is driving the campaign against Israel’s plan to deport some 20,000 African migrants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Feb. 4.
The Jerusalem Post reported, citing a “source close to the prime minister,” that Netanyahu was referring to Soros’s funding contribution to the New Israel Fund, which gives money to left-leaning civil rights groups in Israel who have funded organizations that oppose the deportations.
Soros told Channel 10 News that “unlike Netanyahu’s false claims, I am not funding the protests against deporting thousands of African refuge-seekers from Israel. However, I believe deeply that, according to the convention on refugees and international law, it is wrong to forcibly send refuge-seekers back to lands in which they can be persecuted or killed.”
Netanyahu said that former U.S. president Barack Obama “deported two million infiltrators, and no one said anything.”
Israel began handing out notices to 20,000 male African migrants from Sudan and Eritrea on Feb. 4, giving them two months to leave the country or risk being jailed.
Netanyahu’s government is offering the migrants $3,500 and a plane ticket to another country in sub-Saharan Africa, which the Jerusalem Post reported is “widely believed to be Rwanda.”
The New Israel Fund received $837,500 from 2002 to 2015 from Soros’s Open Society Foundations, according to e-mails leaked online via the site DCLeaks in 2016.
Soros has supported a number groups “with radical left-wing agendas,” such as Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and al-Haq, the Jerusalem Post report said.
Netanyahu’s comments, made at the weekly meeting of Likud ministers, were “in reply to Science Minister Ofir Akunis, who claimed that foreign governments were behind the campaign to prevent the deportations,” the report said.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Israel’s first obligation was to its own citizens.
“They are not numbers, they are people, they are human and I am full of compassion and mercy,” Deri told Army Radio. “But the small state of Israel cannot contain such a vast number of illegal infiltrators.”