By Alison Henderson
The Israel Cabinet voted Friday to spend $160 million on a plan that would restrict African migrants from crossing boarders illegally.
The money will go to securing southern boarders, such as the Sinai desert, where the greatest influx of immigrants come from, according to a Washington Post report.
The government estimates that approximately 50,000 Africans have entered illegally since 2006, after police attacks killed 20 people, according to a New York Times report.
The influx has caused conflict within the Israeli nation. Some fear that non-Jewish arrivals "will compromise the state's Jewish character," according to the Washington Post report. But others believe that turning away people who face persecution and conflict would contradict the nation that was built from the exile of Nazi genocide.
Though Israeli officials believe the immigrants are only looking for a better economic state, and will become a burden, others say these are refugees.
"Across the world, 88 percent of Eritrean migrants who seek asylum are recognized as refugees," said Reut Michaeli, an attorney for The Hotline for Migrant Workers in the Washington Post report. "I find it very difficult to believe that the ones who come to Israel are any different."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to raise the issue when he visits several African countries early next year, according to the New York Times report.