The 13,000 illegal African invaders who are working in menial jobs in Israel—out of a total of more than 40,000 who are there—have more than 36 percent of any wages they earn docked by the state which will only be paid back to them if they leave, it has emerged.
Israel’s little-known “Deposit Law,” introduced in May 2017, requires all “asylum seekers” who are working in Israel to deposit 20 percent of their salaries into a closed account they can only access when they leave the country.
In addition, another 16 percent is automatically deducted towards the “pension fund” which is inaccessible until they “choose to leave Israel.”
To ensure that an invader is really leaving, the only place authorized by the government to make the payout is the Mizrahi Tefahot Bank branch at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
According to a recent AP report, the Africans say that the law is “another attempt by an anti-migrant government to force them out,” something that the Israeli government readily agrees is the case.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Sabine Haddad said the savings provide “a proper starting point for the beginning of the migrants’ new lives outside of Israel.”
She said the state is currently holding nearly $40m in the “deposit accounts” of more than 13 000 migrants. Of the thousands who have left Israel voluntarily, 400 have withdrawn their money, she said.
Employers who hire migrants must also pay an additional tax, implemented to encourage employment of Israeli citizens over foreigners, which makes finding work an even greater challenge for the invaders.
The Africans who do work—the majority do not—do as in menial jobs in hotels and restaurants, and a year after the Deposit Law’s implementation, the 20 percent salary reduction “has been deeply felt” by the invaders, the AP report continued.
According to the report, the “impact ranges from people switching to black market jobs that pay them in cash to more women entering prostitution. Families are also being forced to move into smaller apartments, choosing to place their children with uncertified, often unsafe baby-sitters, and giving up on paying for their children’s health insurance.”
In March 2018, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority said that “many employers appear to be making the 20 percent deduction from salaries and pocketing it, thereby undermining the goal of the program, which was to encourage the refugees to leave.”
Yossi Edelstein, head of enforcement at the authority, told Jewish lawmakers “that it was quite possible that the deduction could appear” on an invader’s pay slip even if the money was not actually deposited.
“We intend to issue a statement that we are going to enforce the deposit law aggressively,” Edelstein promised. “Up to now, enforcement was minimal because the process of setting up the system was under way. But today there’s an online form for the deposits. We’ve collected pay slips and work hours and right now, 70 businesses are being investigated.”