OZ Unit inspectors arrested two citizens of the Philippines and their two children, aged 18 months and eight months at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Stop area on Thursday. The four were taken to a detention facility at the Ben Gurion Airport and are scheduled to be deported within 72 hours.
The Israeli Children organization was shocked at the news. "They take children who have done no wrong, and retroactively punish them for the government's sin," a statement on behalf of the organization noted.
Marcy, the neighbor of the two detainees recounted the circumstances of the arrest: "I was outside the apartment with one of the mothers, the immigration officers saw us and the mother entered the flat as she had no passport. When the inspectors entered the apartment they saw the other mother who lives in the adjacent room. I was outside the whole time. I gather they let them take things from the flat like clothes and baby formula."
Population, Immigration and Border Authority Spokesperson Sabin Hadad said: "The two mothers were arrested as part of routine activity. They are both returning to their families. They both spent six to seven years in Israel and worked in nursing. They have been residing in Israel illegally for at least two years. There is nothing unusual here.
"These are small children and we do not need to explain why they were arrested. We abide by the interior minister's commitment not to deport anyone who attends a state school or kindergarten. "