Last ditch effort to prevent the deportation – a large demonstration will take place in Tel Aviv Tuesday, in protest of the slated deportation of 400 foreign workers' children.
Officials in the Ministry of Interior said that after the holidays, and after the parents receive letters informing them that their appeals to stay in Israel have been denied, the Oz Unit will begin enforcing deportation procedures.
Officials at the Immigration Authority said they have began the 30 day countdown for voluntary departure on September 1, except for those who have appealed to stay and have been denied, who will begin their countdown on the same day their denial notice is received.
"Deporting the children is not a substitute for forming a cohesive immigration policy," said Rotem Ilan from Israeli Children organization.
"It's time the government handles the truly important subject, which is the simplicity with which it deports work migrants, only to bring more and more new ones. The enforcement should be against manpower agencies – and not on the backs of 400 children," she said.
The protest rally slated to take place in front of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque will feature a circle of drummers that will play with the migrant children, and poets who will take the stage and read songs against the deportation.
As part of last minute efforts to prevent the deportation, the Kibbutz Movement management announced that as soon as one child is deported, it will begin rounding up the children and dispersing them between 22 kibbutzim, where volunteers will host them in their houses.
Excited to start school (Photo: Yaron Brener)
"There are 280 kibbutzim and more than 30,000 houses. We are talking about a total of 400 children and their parents, who will be discretely dispersed between the houses. Oz Unit can enter each kibbutz and try to locate all 400 children," said a Kibbutz Movement official.
The deportation continues to preoccupy the political echelons as well, and many members of Knesset and ministers are openly voicing their objections.
"Deporting children who wish to become citizens is a problem of the State," MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu)
said on Monday.
MK Carmel Shama (Likud)
also commented on the issue, saying " the deportation of a small number of children is not worth the damage it will cause the State of Israel."
Government officials who are involved in the struggle to keep the children in Israel said that at the moment "none of the children got a positive or negative response about their status. We won't have answers before the holidays, and even after the holidays there will be time to appeal. As far as we know, there is no enforcement decision as of yet."
A senior government minister on Monday said he didn't think the 400 children of migrant workers would be deported.
"The best thing to do is simply not to do," he said. "When they don’t want to build in Jerusalem, they don't issue tenders. I think it will be the same thing with the children. I can't imagine a situation where children would be deported from Israel."
Attila Somfalvi, Yael Branovsky and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report