JERUSALEM - African migrants who entered Israel illegally will be given cash incentives if they leave on their own soon, or they will face expulsion, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
A tent city is being built to hold other migrants, the vast majority of which can stay for now, the ministry said.
About 60,000 Africans have trekked across Egypt and other Muslim countries to reach Israel during the past few years. Many are looking for work, while others seek political asylum.
A Jerusalem court has ruled that 4,500 migrants, mostly from South Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Mali, are to be expelled.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said Friday that those who willingly leave within the next week or two will receive cash incentives of $1,200 and a plane ticket. She said that otherwise, they face expulsion.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Israel Radio that that a tent city and holding facilities are being built for other migrants who are living in major population centers. He said they will get food and health care.
Israel is erecting a barrier along the roughly 125-mile border with Egypt. But the migrants continue to arrive at a rate of about 1,000 a month, and some report being raped, tortured, and extorted by the Arab Bedouins who smuggle them through.