Barak: Expulsion is anti-Jewish

Defense minister to PM: Reconsider decision to expel immigrant kids.

migrant workers children 311  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
migrant workers children 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reconsider the government decision authorizing the deportation of 400 children of foreign workers under the age of five, while letting 800 older children and their families stay.
Barak, who did not participate in Sunday’s cabinet vote, asked Netanyahu to prevent the deportations.
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“The State of Israel cannot expel hundreds of children,” Barak said. “It is not Jewish or humane and will scar the entire Israeli society.”
Barak added, “I plan on suggesting that the prime minister adopt and implement the decisions of the intergovernmental committee regarding the foreign worker children in Israel only in the future, and to allow the 1,200 children to remain in Israel.”
Also on Wednesday, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog defended his decision not to oppose in the cabinet meeting the plan to deport 400 out of 1,200 children of foreign workers living here without any official status.
“The government’s decision last Sunday to allow hundreds of children of foreign workers to stay in Israel is reasonable,” Herzog told a press conference in Tel Aviv, pointing to the 800 who will be allowed to remain. “It might not be a perfect decision and it might not be the most humanitarian one, but it is what could be achieved at this time.”
Herzog, who abstained in the vote, and fellow Labor Party member Minorities Affairs Minister Avishai Braverman, who voted for the plan, later came under fire from party chairman Barak, who said the two had violated a decision by the Labor faction to oppose deporting any children of foreign workers.
“I abstained because I had the understanding that voting against it would mean the deportation of even more children,” Herzog said. “In postmortem, I believe it was the correct decision.”
He continued: “The number of children who will end up being deported is still unclear but from conversations I have had with those involved in dealing with this, the numbers will be much fewer than what has been reported this week in the media.”
Herzog added that in light of this pending “brutal deportation” of foreign workers and their children, Israel had to focus on formulating a national policy and clearer guidelines on the status of migrant workers.
“I propose that we create a new system so that we will not find ourselves back in this loop,” he said, highlighting that draft legislation on the nation’s immigration policies regarding those not eligible under the Law of Return already exists; it just needs to be modified and set into law.
“The concept of deportation is foreign to the Jewish soul and to Jewish history,” said Herzog, who called the press conference to express his views on several issues related to social welfare.
“I would like to take this opportunity to send a message to the interior minister [Shas chairman Eli Yishai]: You do not have the monopoly of views held by the Israeli people,” Herzog said.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.