'Children of Israel - Israeli citizenship'
Photo: Yaron Brener
Mofaz: Kids see Israel as their home
Photo: Ofer Amram
MKs from both the Coalition and the Opposition proposed a bill Monday that would legalize the status of foreign workers' children in Israel, while the government continued to mull the issue.
The bill proposes that the interior minister grant a visa to everyone who was born in Israel, knows Hebrew, studies or studied at a recognized educational institute, and is involved in Israeli society and culture.
"The goal of this bill is to give temporary orders to provide legal status for children living in Israel and studying in its school system, who have become involved in Israeli society and its culture, and identify with it wholly," the explanation for the bill says.
"The arrangement applies to 1,200 children whose deportation from Israel is unethical and opposes the values of the state as Jewish and democratic."
MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), one of the bill's initiators, explained why he supported the arrangement. "Many of the foreign workers' children see Israel as their home. Some of them serve in the IDF and are willing to give their lives to the state. We have to find a moral solution for these 1,200 kids. They are Israeli, just like us," he said.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) agreed that the children were Israeli. "The repeating attempts by Eli Yishai to deport them, in the name of unenlightened ideals, have run up against a human wall comprised of people from all sides of the political spectrum," he said.
"It's time to put an end to the chase after these kids. This law will end their long battle for legal status and allow them to go back to living a normal life in Israel."
The inter-ministerial committee charged with deciding the matter is scheduled to announce its conclusions by the end of the month. Next week a public protest in favor of granting the children legal status is scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv Museum.
Yael Branovsky contributed to this report