Shoah survivor: Don't deport foreigners' kids
Foreign workers and their children stage protest ahead of government meeting meant to decide their fate. Protestors include granddaughter of Holocaust survivor whose caregiver may be deported. 'My grandmother was rescued by a Polish woman and now she wants to give back,' she says
Some 40 illegal workers' children accompanied by 10 adults protested in front of the Knesset on Monday, ahead of a special meeting called by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, concerning the deportation of illegal workers and their families.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz are to take part in the meeting.
The children were carrying posters with an image of a child and the caption "Deported." Knesset guards initially asked the signs be put down, but eventually relented.
Noa Maiman is a volunteer with "Israeli Children," a group working to stop the deportation of Israeli-born children of illegal workers. Noa's grandmother, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor whose caregiver is from Peru, attended the rally with the caregiver's five-year-old daughter.
The rally (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
The caregiver, Noah explained, will have legal status in Israel only for as long as her grandmother lives. "I wish nothing but longevity for my grandmother, but she has already asked the family to take care of the child, who she thinks of as her own granddaughter.
"My grandmother was rescued by a Polish Christian woman and now she wants to give back."
The five-year-old is unaware that her father has spent the last three months in jail and was nearly deported twice. "It won't be any fun if we're deported," she said. "It'll be boring."
Also protesting were Niyen from Burma and his wife Lhani, from the Philippines. The two are the parents of two girls, aged seven and two. Niyen has a work visa, but Lhani does not. "This situation is very hard. I'm afraid of what will happen if we are deported," she told Ynet.
"The girls are very attached to their father and to Israel, and now we are facing uncertainty."
Tami Gordon is a volunteer with one of the groups helping foreign workers from Colombia. "It's hard for me to accept that we are thinking about deporting people who have been living here for years, children who were born here," she told Ynet.
"Any government which will do that will be forever brand with this stigma," she said.
Earlier Monday, Minister Herzog told Ynet that he will fight any decision advocating deportation of children.