FM issues statement saying that 'Jewish history compels us to take exceptional caution on these matters'; Lieberman criticizes Interior Minister Eli Yishai's statements against African migrants.
Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch: Public figures riding wave of hatred, Incitement led to recent attacks on migrants.
"These days the police is faced with additional challenges: Facing the wave of illegal infiltrators and their criminal activity, but no less serious are the statements made by public figures who can't shut their mouths and ride the wave of hatred and popularity to cover up their feeble performance over the years."
The Foreign Ministry issued an unprecedented statement on Monday in which it harshly condemned the recent violence against African migrants living in Israel
Referring to an arson attack on Sunday against an apartment rented by Eritrean migrants, the statement said, "There is no justification [for] such a heinous crime that puts people's lives in harm's way... No person has the right to violate the law and resort to violence against others, certainly not to endanger lives, for any reason whatsoever."
"Law and ethics prohibit any injury to the other, the guest and the foreigner," the ministry's statement continued. "Jewish history compels us to take exceptional caution on these matters," it urged.
The statement was the first denunciation of violence by the Foreign Ministry against African migrants in Israel.
Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman harshly criticized Interior Minister Eli Yishai for his statements against African migrants.
During a conference in Eilat, Lieberman defined the Africans in Israel as "migrant workers" as opposed to "asylum seekers" and said that statements that come out against the African migrants, such as Yishai's, harm the Foreign Ministry's efforts to reach agreements with their countries of origin.
Lieberman said that every interview or statement against African migrants "takes us back six months."
"I ask all my colleagues – and I already spoke to them personally – to talk less. Especially ministers and MKs," Lieberman said.
"All of this talking does not solve any problems. We have made significant progress with the countries of origin and unfortunately, during the last two weeks, all our efforts have been erased," he said.
The graffiti slogans that were sprayed onto an apartment building in Jerusalem, which was torched on Monday morning, called to deport the illegal migrants living in the area and sparked claims of racism. The writing called for migrants to "get out of the neighborhood."
However, the apartment's landlord insisted that this was just a "neighborhood feud and nothing more." He further denied receiving any threats concerning the apartment's Eritrean residents. "We'll fix up the place, so they can come back and live here," he clarified.
Despite the fact that the initial investigation of the incident, in which four people were wounded, indicated arson, the landlord continued to insist that "the fire has nothing to do with the illegal immigrants living in the apartment."
Some have claimed that several residents of the ultra-Orthodox haredi community in the area were behind the attack.
The Jerusalem District Police said that the initial investigation indicated a racially-motivated attack.
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch addressed the incident during a ceremony honoring fallen police officers in Kiryat Ata: "These days the police is faced with additional challenges: Facing the wave of illegal infiltrators and their criminal activity, but no less serious are the statements made by public figures who can't shut their mouths and ride the wave of hatred and popularity to cover up their feeble performance over the years."
"I call on them to cease, otherwise they could lead us all to severe and needless violence as we witnessed last night with the torching of the apartment in Jerusalem," he added.
Former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni also commented on the arson attack in Jerusalem. She wrote on her Facebook page that "the torching of the foreign workers' apartment in Jerusalem is intolerable and in contrast to Israel's values."
Livni added: "The State's duty is to handle the problem that emerged, especially in certain neighborhoods and cities in Israel, to block its border to labor migrants but not to be dragged to violence and racism."
Photos: Africans in Tel Aviv (1), an African uses the middle of a Tel Aviv sidewalk as privet toilet...(2), FM Lieberman (3), The entry to an African apartment which was torched yesterday in Jerusalem (4)
|Liveleak on Facebook|