JERUSALEM – Israel's Cabinet voted Sunday to erect a massive detention facility to hold thousands of Africans who have slipped illegally through the porous southern border with Egypt, heating up a debate over how to handle their mounting numbers.
Critics accuse Israel of trying to turn away bona fide refugees and predicted the facility, which will be designed to hold up to 10,000 detainees, would become a squalid refugee camp. The Cabinet minister in charge of prisons said correctional authorities were ill-equipped to run the facility.
Most migrants come from Eritrea, Sudan and other impoverished and conflict-ridden African countries. Human rights workers say the Africans appear to be racing to cross the border before Israel completes the border fence.