"There is something untoward about the [deportation of migrant workers' children] that justifiably damages the way we see the State of Israel," Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said on Monday.
Speaking to Israel Radio, the education minister explained that he understood the government's concerns over the growing number of migrant workers, stating that foreign and illegal labor could be socially and economically harmful to Israeli society.
However, Sa'ar emphasized that the children, most of whom had never seen their parents' home countries, were more Israeli than foreign. "They attend our schools â€¦ they speak Hebrew, their identity is Israeli, they usually serve in the IDF," he said.
1,200 children are listed for deportation, set to begin in November.
Sa'ar stressed that the deportation of children could also affect Israel's image, an area in which "Israel has no shortage of problems." He added that he did not think the upper echelons of the Israeli government shared his views on the issue.