Peres speaking 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
President Shimon Peres on Thursday added his voice to those that have been
raised against the decision to deport some 400 Hebrew-speaking, Israel-educated
children of foreign workers.
In an address at Ramat Gan’s Kfar
Hamaccabiah to the opening session of LEAD, a leadership development program
which has been operating in Israel since 1999, Peres said that it was
inconceivable that the children, born in Israel and living as Israelis, would be
deported from Israel.
To deport these children would do great damage to
Israel and terrible harm to the families concerned, he said.
clarified that while he is in favor of formulating a serious and
migration policy, he is opposed to draconian measures that involve
“[They] were born in Israel, speak Hebrew, and feel
Deporting them is out of the question,” he said.
organizations and activists working on behalf of the children said they
gratified to have the president on their side, but were also aware that
was no reason to be euphoric about his statement, because laws related
presidency do not give him the authority to overturn a government
Meanwhile, over the last three weeks, roughly 500 families have
submitted applications to the Interior Ministry requesting to stay in
Fifty of the applications were refused on the spot because the
applicants didn’t meet the government’s criteria of age, registration in
Israeli education system or continuous residence in Israel.
applications that were accepted will be analyzed by Interior Ministry
who will decide whether or not to grant the children permanent residency
and their families with renewable temporary residence permits.
organizations claim that the number of children who are to be deported
double the amount originally believed and that 800, not 400, children,
be deported for failing to meet the government’s criteria or because of
logistical or bureaucratic difficulties.
Volunteers from children’s
advocacy group Israeli Children and Hotline for Migrant Workers are on
the Interior Ministry offices to assist families in filling out their
Families have until August 31 to submit their
Deportations are scheduled to begin on September
The Interior Ministry is offering aid packages including free plane
tickets and baggage shipment for families that agree to leave