JERUSALEM, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Israeli leaders announced intentions Sunday to stem the flow of African labor migrants and refugees to preserve a Jewish majority.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting he would tour several African countries in February to speak with leaders and discuss the possibility of returning illegal immigrants to their native countries, Haaretz reported.
Israel estimates there are more than 52,000 illegal workers in the country, many of them from Africa who entered from in the Sinai Peninsula.
"We will continue to care for refugees, but they make up a minimal part of the human wave flooding," Netanyahu said. "Entire populations are starting to move and if we don't act to stop this, we will be flooded."
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Eli Yishai struck a more nationalistic chord, telling reporters he wanted to preserve a Jewish majority in Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
He alleged only a small number of African immigrants are refugees and the rest were only trying to "improve their economic conditions," Ynetnews.com reported.
"Israel cannot turn into an asylum," Yishai said. "They say that I'm a racist, but it's time to remove them."