Interior Minister Eli Yishai denied on Sunday reports that he would recommend
that the government deport 800 children of foreign workers, as opposed to the
400 recommended by the inter-ministerial committee commissioned by Prime Minister
Yishai said that he had yet to even receive the
committee’s recommendations and that whoever reported otherwise, was “extracting
information out of thin air.”
On Friday the committee, made up of
representatives of the ministries of education, welfare, interior,
justice, completed nearly a year of deliberations and recommended that
allow 800 out of 1,200 children born to illegal foreign workers to
remain in the
According to the committee’s recommendations all children who
were born in Israel, have resided in Israel for more than five years,
Hebrew and are registered in Israeli schools, be granted permanent
status along with their families.
If the criteria proposed by the
committee are approved, it would mean that roughly twothirds of the
will be allowed to stay.
Yishai’s denial followed media reports over that
weekend that Yishai planned to reject the panel’s recommendations and
more restrictive proposal, under which only those children who were
first grade in September would be allowed to stay. This would mean only
children and their families would be granted permanent status.
past, Yishai has been a staunch supporter of deporting the children.
last year he has given many interviews in which he made clear that he
deportation out of concern for the demographic character of the
Yishai’s denial didn’t prevent forces that support the
children’s remaining from attacking Yishai for his alleged proposal.
Sunday’s Likud ministers meeting, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, a
supporter of the cause, said that “the issue of the children’s status
the sole prerogative of any single minister, but of the government as a
Later, in the weekly cabinet meeting, Sa’ar said that it was
vital to discuss the committee’s recommendations as soon as possible, as
has been too much stalling and too many rumors circulating.
committee’s recommendations are reasonable and balanced. Any deviation
would cause excessive harm and unjustifiable injury,” said Welfare and
Services Minister Yitzhak Herzog, another supporting of allowing the
“If necessary we will take the issue up before the
A statement issued by child advocacy group Israeli Children
called on Yishai to adopt the committee’s recommendations, and even take
step further and grant permanent status to all 1,200 kids.
minister established an interministerial committee that seriously
the issue of the fate of migrant workers children. It is unacceptable
Interior Minister Eli Yishai bypass the committee’s authority and make
arbitrary and brutal decision on his own,” said the organization’s
The public campaign to have the children remain in Israel has
been going on for the last year, ever since Netanyahu had announced a
deport the children and their families.
Facing public outcry, Netanyahu
in November delayed the decision until the end of the school year,
the panel and asking it to come up with its recommendations by then.
2006, Israel granted permanent residence to 900 children of foreign
what was then believed would be a one-time act. Many of the children who
being considered for permanent status now were too young to be included
arrangement in 2006.
Yishai will be formally presented with the
committee’s recommendations next week, after which he will present them