311_foreign workers' kids.
(photo credit: Ariel Schalit/AP)
The number of illegal migrants' children living in Israel in violation of immigration laws is in the tens of thousands, not hundreds as is commonly perceived, Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Israel Radio on Friday.
The number of children illegally residing in Israel exceeds 20,000, Yishai's office said in a statement released after the interview. Six thousand of the children are between the ages of one and five and 14,000 are between the ages of six and seventeen. Yishai used these numbers as a justification for his position that the government should expel all illegal migrant children and their families from Israel, instead of granting legal status to those who meet certain criteria, emphasizing their threat to the Jewish character of the state.
Foreign workers’ families begin paper push
Yishai: I wouldn't let any foreign workers’ kids stay here
Opinion: Wonderfully scripted propaganda
Yishai complained of a "lynch" against him, due to the planned deportation of foreign workers and their children, in an interview last week with Army Radio.
"I am not against the children, I am against their parents, who are taking advantage of our good hearts," he said.
The Shas chairman has been on the receiving end of much of the criticism
hurled toward the government, by human rights groups, for its decision
to deport approximately 400 children of foreign workers and their
families while allowing around 800 to remain. The move, which will see
those children who don’t meet the government’s criteria leave within
weeks, has been characterized by some, including Defense Minister Ehud
Barak, as inhumane and un-Jewish.
"If we were dealing with refugees, I would accept them and let them
stay," the minister explained. "But we are talking about people looking
for work; people who are taking advantage of the good-hearted nature of
the Jewish people."