foreign workers' kids 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Children of foreign workers in the country illegally are dealing with great
uncertainty as their deportation looms, and are taking steps to hide from the
authorities in Tel Aviv, NGOs and residents said on Thursday.
At the The
Lord Our Righteousness Ministry in south Tel Aviv’s Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood,
“Ruby,” a young Filipina woman said the children at the church’s daycare center
are “very afraid, very disturbed, because they never know what will happen and
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“The parents and children are staying every night at a different
house with different people, and always calling in the morning to check if we
are open or if it’s safe to come. Sometimes there are very few children
here, because the parents are afraid to be outside.”
Ruby said that the
20 or so babies and 15 children aged three and four at the evangelical church’s
daycare center are among the 400 children who don’t fit the government’s
criteria to stay in Israel and are not enrolled in state-run kindergartens or
preschools, and thus face deportation in the coming days. She said that recently
she and other staff members have tried to bring a sense of normalcy to the
childrens' lives, by planning a Purim party and holding regular activities, but
that nonetheless, the children can sense something is amiss.
“They see it
in their parents, they can understand by watching what their parents are going
Rotem Ilan, of the NGO “Israeli Children,” said “the children
are always feeling uncertainty and stress.”
When asked if she was aware
of efforts to evade the immigration police enforcement campaign, Ilan said, “We
know about all types of initiatives, but we don’t tell people what to
She added that she had heard of a lot of different efforts to hide
children, but didn’t know enough to give a general assessment of the
Ilan pointed a finger at the government, which she said is
focusing on the 400 children and their families instead of the real problem,
“which is the lack of a real policy on foreign workers. They focus on these
children when the revolving door policy that brings in more and more foreign
workers remains unchanged.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Interior Minister Eli
Yishai (Shas) announced that the government has decided to delay the deportation
of children enrolled in state-run kindergartens and day schools.
deportation of the remainder of the 400 children could begin as early as in the
next few days, the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority said on
The deportations follow a cabinet decision last August 1 that
approved the deportation of approximately 400 of the 1,200 children of illegal
residents of Israel. NGOs estimate that of the 400 children slated for
deportation, approximately half are enrolled in state-run schools.
finishing all the necessary requirements, and sensitive attention paid to the
public, I have delayed the enforcement of deportation for those families with
children already studying in educational institutions within Israel,” Yishai
said in a statement released by his ministry.
“At this stage, we will
begin with the children of families for whom there is no disagreement as to
their noncompliance with government-agreed conditions,” he said.