The 1,200 children of foreign workers living in Israel will not receive a permanent residence status, but will also not be deported by the end of the current school year, according to ministers who took part in a discussion held Monday evening at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office at the Knesset.
The meeting was attended the interior, social services, education, justice and finance ministers.
The Prime Minister's Office said at the end of the meeting that a final decision had not been made. "The prime minister announced that the discussion will be resumed in the coming days and that a decision on the matter will only be made after all aspects are considered."
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said following the meeting that "we must refrain from deporting any children studying in the education system."
Sa'ar added that "the government's interim decision not to deport the children until the end of the school year must be extended, and in the meantime we must set a comprehensive policy."
Ministers said after the meeting that the policy of deporting foreign workers staying in Israel illegally would continue, and that the Oz unit tasked with capturing them will continue its activities.
During the discussion Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who is leading the deportation campaign, turned to the prime minister and told him he would not grant the foreign workers' children a legal status.
"If you want to give them a status, take the Interior Ministry away from me," he clarified.
The ministers hope a final decision on the matter will be made in the next few hours.
Ahead of the meeting, some 40 foreign workers' children accompanied by 10 adults protested in front of the Knesset. 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.
Earlier, Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog told Ynet he would fight any decision which would lead to the children's deportation, noting that these were children in a state of risk and distress, and that therefore "they must be handled regardless of their identity."