'Migrants danger to Zionist project'

Eli Yishai to meet with PM's wife over migrant worker's kids.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 15, 2010 10:28
2 minute read.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai 311 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Sunday that he would agree to hold a meeting with the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, following her request that he find a way to allow children of foreign workers who are set to be deported remain in Israel.

However, Yishai said he remained adamant that the approximately 400 children who did not meet the government’s criteria would not be allowed to stay.

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“I think that the prime minister’s wife has the right to act in any area that is important to her and I appreciate her work, but I will not change my policies,” said Yishai in an interview on Army Radio. “She can approach me as interior minister and I will pass on any request to a committee that will examine it in all due seriousness.”

At the meeting, scheduled for Thursday in Yishai’s office, Netanyahu hopes to convince Yishai to come up with a solution that would enable 400 children, most of them under the age of five, and their parents and siblings remain in Israel. She had already conveyed similar messages in a letter and in a phone call to Yishai last week and both times Yishai referred her to the channels set up to deal with exceptions.

Gidi Shmerling, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, said that as a child psychologist, the well-being of the foreign workers’ children was close to Netanyahu’s heart and that she has been acting on their behalf for months.

He also said that Sara Netanyahu had intervened before in cases where children were involved, citing her lobbying for the naturalization of the twins born earlier this year to a homosexual couple by surrogacy in India, and on behalf of Sandra Samuel, the nanny who saved Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were murdered in Mumbai Chabad House attack in 2008, who will eventually receive Israeli citizenship.

“Right now she is making an effort to make sure as many as possible of the children be allowed to stay.”

In the past week, the Interior Ministry has received 256 applications from families asking to remain in Israel.

According to Population, Immigration and Borders Authority figures, 19 of the requests were refused because it was clear they didn’t meet the government’s criteria.

Those who passed the first hurdle will have their applications further analyzed by Interior Ministry officials, who will decide whether or not to grant the children with permanent residency status and their families with renewable temporary residence permits.


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