Compassionate. Netanyahu
Photo: AP
PM defers deportation of foreign workers' children
Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Interior Minister Yishai, Finance Minister Steinitz, decides to postpone controversial deportation decision by three months. Children, parents to be given temporary residence permits

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that the decision on the deportation of foreign workers' children will be postponed to October.


Netanyahu discussed the issue with Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, after which he said that the government would try to formulate a new policy on the matter over the next three months.


Meanwhile, the children and their parents will be given the necessary residence permits for the said time period.


Netanyahu, Steinitz and Yishai further agreed that the latter, who also heads the Ministerial Committee on Foreign Workers, will assign a special team for the matter.


"The prime minister met with the interior and finance ministers and they have decided to continue with the government's policy to encourage foreign workers to leave Israel of their own accord," said a Prime Minister's Office statement.


Nevertheless, Israel will continue with its deportation policy: "The constant flux of illegal aliens into Israel over the past few years has resulted in us having one of the highest foreign workers ratios in the world. This fact contributes to unemployment among Israelis and significantly changes the demographic balance within Israel," added the statement.


"The Treasury and the Interior Ministry have been tasked with formulating new legislative policies over the next three months, meant to address the need to increase enforcement and penalization of Israelis who employ illegal aliens. It will be presented to the Knesset in its winter session.


"The cabinet," concluded the statement, "Will continue debating the growing phenomenon of illegal alien infiltration through the southern border and the issue of increased border control."


'Shameless use of children'

Earlier Thursday, Tziki Sela, head of the Immigration and Population Administration's Oz Unit, which has been detaining illegal aliens in recent weeks, defended his unit and accused the human rights organizations of shamelessy using children in their campaign against the deportations.


"I didn't say I was removing children. This is a cynical interpretation by people that don't care about the State. They are making shameless use of children," Sela told Ynet.


He continued to say his unit was not targeting children specifically: "We don't have a mission called children, we are not looking for children and they will not be at the center of our operations."


Sela also rejected claims that the children's deportation would pose a "serious risk to their health" and that the Israeli reality is all they know.


"Do not confuse things – I am sending them back to their homeland, they have a state to absorb them," he said.


"We always, always make sure these families have somewhere to go back to. That they go back to a legitimate state, that is sovereign and without dangers. I don't have to make sure they have families to greet them. For me, the government is like family," he added.


Yael Levy contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.30.09, 19:33
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