In early February, Israel started handing out deportation notices to some 20,000 asylum seekers, most of them from Eritrea and Sudan. More than 35,000 are expected to be deported or jailed indefinitely in the upcoming months.
The Israeli state has already made the necessary preparations for the operation. In early January, it advertised positions for 100 inspectors who will have the task to "locate, detain and monitor illegal persons". It also established the Assisted Voluntary Return Department, which offers a sum of $3,500 to those it has identified as "infiltrators" to return to either their countries of origin or a third country.
Meanwhile, mainstream media reporting on the deportations approached the topic from the perspective of Israel's foundational myth. Reuters reported on the issue, describing it as "a moral dilemma for a state founded as a haven for Jews from persecution and a national home". Then an oped in the New York Times went further and declared that Israel had "become a place of no refuge". Another oped in the Washington Post claimedthat "Israel is betraying its history by expelling African asylum seekers."