Israeli MP Miri Regev has attacked African migrants to the country as "a cancer in our body" at protest against illegal immigrants.

Regev, who works for Likud, Israel's centre-right party, made the comments at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The Israel National News reported that 17 demonstrators were arrested and an African immigrant was injured after the protest.

According to Ynet Regeve told the crowd of around 1,000 people: "The infiltrators are a cancer in our society. All the leftists who filed High Court appeals [against deportations] should be ashamed of themselves.

"We will not let them thwart our attempt to protect ourselves, our children, our women and our work places. We will continue to protest every day until the last of the Sudanese infiltrators returns to his country."

Her rant led to the general director of Peace Now Yariv Oppenheimer urging Israel's Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate Regev and two fellow politicians, Danny Danon of Likud and Michael Ben-Ari of National Union.

According to The Times of Israel Oppenheimer warned “speeches and slander will translate into harm to human life."

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch also said the violence was wrong and called on public officials to "show responsibility, and not incite.

Regev, who told the protest “we won’t allow the aliens to spread like cancer", later told Israeli Radio she "understood the anger" against illegal immigrants.

Her comments came after earlier this week Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned African migrants were "threatening the fabric of Israeli society, its national security and its national identity."

It is estimated that more than 50,000 Africans have come into Israel in the last seven years.