Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman referred to the possible deportation of foreign workers' children within three weeks on Sunday during a swearing in ceremony of Islamic judges held at the President's Residence.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must do as Menachem Begin did. I can't envisage the children being deported," Braverman said.
His reference to Begin relates to a situation in 1977 in which late Prime Minister Menachem Begin granted Israeli citizenship to 179 Vietnamese refugees who escaped their homeland on boats after a regime change occurred in Vietnam. No country agreed to take the refugees in after being pulled out of the sea by an Israeli cargo ship.
"The State of Israel will be blemished should those 1,200 children not be accepted as Israeli citizens. It is humanitarianly the right thing to do. The issue must be solved and we are obligated to acknowledge them equal citizens of the State of Israel," the minister said.
On November 1 the three month period set by the prime minister for making a decision on the state of the foreign workers' children will end. The anxiety level among the foreign workers is steadily increasing in the face of the possible imminent deportation.
A hotline supporting foreign workers received many calls expressing the growing fear. "We expect an announcement of the postponement of the families' deportation until the government reaches a decision settling their status," a source in the hotline said.
"Such delays cause anxieties and severe distress to the foreign workers' children and their families. As the days go by, calls from the older children increase as well as from anxious parents wanting to know whether a decision has been made and its nature," the source added.