Israeli communications minister Ayoub Kara on Friday called African asylum seekers a “sanitary nuisance” before apparently calling for publishers of “fake news” to be executed.
Kara made the comments at a Likud party event in Eilat, in which he blamed asylum seekers for problems in the tourism industry.
“In my previous role, I was in charge of regional cooperation to save tourism in Eilat. We brought here 1,500 from Akaba and thus we deported, without making any effort, the illegal workers who infiltrated here and were a sanitary nuisance,” said Kara.
His comments come after Israel announced plans earlier this month to rid Israel of asylum seekers. Thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers will be deported or imprisoned, in a move that has shocked international human rights groups.
Kara went on to call for media groups propagating “fake news” to be executed, winning a round of applause from Likud supporters.
“Everyone who brings [sic] fake news, will bring upon themselves the death verdict and there won’t be fucking fake news anymore,” he said, as reported by Haaretz.
Kara doubled-down on his comments after protests on social media, releasing a statement in response.
“It’s funny to me [that I’m being criticised] because whoever sees me knows how important freedom of speech is to me, how supportive I am of reforms, how much I want transparency in the media,” he said.
“Whoever brings [sic] fake news brings the death verdict on himself, not me. My intention is for people not to see [those who create fake news] on billboards. Not me. They will bring upon themselves not being seen.”