Israel will offer a cash reward to civilians who sign up to become “immigration inspectors” with the government unit that oversees the deportation of the country’s large asylum and refugee population.
The Population and Immigration Authority, the Israeli government’s immigration ministry, published a job notice last week that invites civilians to apply to become “inspectors” for the agency’s asylum request department. The ministry is offering “appropriate pay” as well as a bonus that can reach 30,000 Israeli shekels ($8,700).
The ministry says it is looking to hire 100 inspectors by March 2018. Of these, 70 inspectors will be hired for a two-month period to “carry out enforcement tasks against illegal aliens and their employers,” including the need to “locate, detain and monitor illegal persons.” The immigration ministry also wants to hire 40 people to “conduct comprehensive questioning and investigation of asylum seekers,” ostensibly to determine the veracity of their claims.
The notice calls for high school education and notes that experience in combat or security is a plus.
The Israeli government says that there are 38,043 African migrants living in the country, most of them hailing from war-torn countries such as Eritrea and South Sudan, having illegally crossed the Israeli border between 2007 and 2012.
The job notice came a week after the Israeli government announced the “Assisted Voluntary Return” program, which offers refugees and asylum seekers—referred to as “infiltrators” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—a plane ticket to their country of origin or a third nation and a $3,500 lump sum payment.
If asylum seekers do not make use of the offer by April, the Israeli government has warned it will not hesitate to imprison asylum seekers who refuse to leave.
According to Hareetz, the Israeli Interior Ministry “estimates the total cost of its deportation operation at some 300 million shekels ($86 million) a year. This includes wages of Interior Ministry employees, deportation flights, and money given to those who leave.”
Netanyahu has defended the decision to remove asylum seekers from Israel.
“Every country must monitor its borders,” he told reporters earlier this week. “Maintaining the borders from illegal infiltration is both a right and a basic duty of a sovereign state.”
The United Nations refugee agency denounced Israel’s deportation plans on Tuesday, saying that the country’s plan to deport citizens from war-torn countries is irresponsible.
The U.N. is concerned that Israel’s deportation plans will force asylum seekers to make the arduous journey from Israel to Libya and eventually into Europe. The refugee agency has already recorded 80 cases of refugees who attempted to make the journey after being kicked out of Israel.
“Feeling they had no other choice, they traveled many hundreds of kilometers through conflict zones in South Sudan, Sudan and Libya after being relocated by Israel,” the spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, told reporters in Geneva.
He said that along the way, “they suffered abuse, torture and extortion before risking their lives once again by crossing the Mediterranean to Italy.”