The Israeli government will pay $3,500 grants to African refugees to encourage them to leave the country, it has said.
The country’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move was designed to “protect the Jewish and democratic character” of the Middle Eastern state.
The country’s coalition cabinet voted unanimously last weekend to approve the plan, drawn up by the country’s new Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and supported by Netanyahu.
“We are determined to remove the tens of thousands of infiltrators who are here, after we lowered to zero the number of work-seeking infiltrators who have entered Israel’s cities,” Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting, according to a government release.
Israel already pays grants of $1,500 to migrants who agree to leave but the proposal would see the figure raised to $3,500.
Other measures approved as part of a £73m package include the establishment of a migrant detention center in the Negev desert.
Extra funding will also be provided to police in south Tel Aviv where populations of African migrants live.
– Read more: Israeli Government to Pay African Refugees $3,500 to Leave – Independent