Activists hang pictures of foreign kids
Photo: Ofer Amram

Anxious foreign workers await possible deportation

Foreign workers dreading government decision on deportation of their kids, to be made November 1

Anxiety among foreign workers in Israel is steadily increasing as the date approaches in which the government will have to decide on whether to deport their children.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed the decision for three months and set the date for November 1.


There are currently 2,000 foreign children under the age of 18 living in Israel. Of these, 500 are under the age of three and an additional 500 are aged three to six.


Meanwhile, the foreign workers are seeking aid wherever it is given, and help hotlines have reported a 50% increase in calls in the past five months. In addition, signs of anxiety have been recognized in 60% of the children in the group aged 3-6.


Psychologist Yael Meiri, who works with the foreign workers' community, told Ynet that the postponement of the decision is what has brought on the excess angst.


"Because there is no official decision the children and their parents are in a state of constant anxiety," she said. "People's lives have been turned upside down, and from secure and normal children they have become fretful and scared."


Rose, a worker from the Philippines, says she has trouble preparing her son for the worst. "He studies in school and knows only Israel," she says. "I told him I was born in the Philippines and that I have a home and a father there, but he won't hear about leaving Israel."


On Saturday activists in Tel Aviv hung pictures of the children in danger of being deported throughout the city. One activist explained that the demonstration was "one last chance to look the children in the eyes out of the knowledge that if Israeli society does not take a stand they will be uprooted and sent to a foreign country they do not know or speak the language of".


"It's not fair that the children should have to pay the price of past failures," explained an organizer of the protest. "The State has created the immigration problems with its own hands and should take responsibility."


On Friday the organizations aiding the foreign workers in Israel plan to hold an event in Tel Aviv in order to raise public awareness of their plight.


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.09, 14:50
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