'Media turned me into a bad guy'

Yishai outraged at coverage of foreign workers' children debate.

August 12, 2010 10:49
1 minute read.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai

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


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Interior Minister Eli Yishai complained of a "lynch" against him, due to the planned deportation of foreign workers and their children, in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday.

"I am not against the children, I am against their parents, who are taking advantage of our good hearts," he said.

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Yishai: I wouldn't let any foreign workers' kids stay here
ADL to Israel: Let foreign workers' kids stay
Analysis: Looking for loopholes

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 a month, has been characterized by some, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as inhumane and un-Jewish.

"[The media] is turning me into a bad guy, when I'm doing what's good for the Jewish people," Yishai exclaimed. "I am not going to back down from this struggle. I am saying things that come from our Torah!"

"You are joining the charade and the hatred and the distortion," Yishai said to the Army Radio host. "Suddenly, you defend people who break the law! You're the one with mercy, and I have no mercy?"

"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."

Yishai also expressed outrage at some of the names he had been called in the media: "They stuck me with the stigma of racism - they called me a racist!"

Yishai complained that in the last year, 3,000 illegal workers entered Israel.

"I will continue to act for the good of the Jewish people," Yishai said. "Most of the nation is with me!"

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