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PM's wife sends plea to Yishai
ByRON FRIEDMAN, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
August 13, 2010 22:05
Sarah Netanyahu writes on behalf of 400 foreign workers' children.
Sara Netanyahu.

Sara Netanyahu. (photo credit:Jerusalem Post)

Sara Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife, sent a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai pleading with him to find a solution that would allow the 400 children to remain in the country, Channel 2 reported over the weekend.

Yishai has been at the forefront of the initiative to expel the children and their families, claiming they posed a threat to Israel’s Jewish character and that allowing them to stay would set a dangerous precedent.



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“Dear Eli, I turn to you as a mother of two young sons and a psychologist in the public service,” Netanyahu wrote to Yishai. “From the depth of my heart, I ask of you to exercise your authority... and allow most of the 400 children to stay in Israel.”

She added that she had expressed her opinion about the children of foreign workers to her husband on several occasions prior to the government’s decision and that her entreaties may have influenced the prime minister’s decision to let 800 of the children remain in Israel.

“Israel must find a solution for these children. I would like to believe that my pleas on this matter helped the prime minister’s position that 800 out of 1,200 children in question were allowed to stay. I am certain that in this case too, you can find a creative solution for the children of the foreign workers [through] the government’s decision and the power you hold as interior minister, in a way which will not harm Israel’s national interests as a Jewish state and its policy on immigration,” Netanyahu wrote.

According to a Ynet report on Saturday night, Yishai rejected Netanyahu’s appeal out of “worry for the for the future of the Jewish people and of Israel.”

Yishai has been adamant in his belief that all of the foreign workers’ children should be deported, stating in a Wednesday interview with The Jerusalem Post: “Former prime ministers [Ariel] Sharon and [Ehud] Olmert both said a ‘bit more and then that’s it.’ There is no end to it. I wouldn’t let any of them stay here, not 800, not even one.”

The decision to deport the 400 children who don’t meet certain criteria to stay in Israel has been controversial.

Some have characterized the move as inhumane and un-Jewish, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

According to the latest government decision, children that will not be deported must be registered in the Israeli school system. They must speak Hebrew. They had to have been either born in Israel, or entered before their 13th birthday.

They had to have lived in Israel for at least five consecutive years and the children’s parents had to have entered Israel under a legal permit.

Detractors of the decision have pointed at Yishai personally, prompting the interior minister to complain of a “lynch” against him in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday.

Among the protesters in Tel Aviv was another famous spouse. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s wife, Aliza, has been active for months in the battle to have the children remain, repeatedly calling on the government to show them compassion.
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