The solution arrived at by the government Sunday on the issue of foreign workers’ children is a typical Mapai-style compromise: 800 children will remain here with us, while 400 children will be expelled.
Someone over there has lost it. In the past, the State of Israel has bombed nuclear reactors, made it all the way to Uganda to rescue hostages in Entebbe, wasted billions on all sorts of trains that are still not in operation, and paid hundreds of millions of shekels to people who contributed nothing to the state.
Yet now the government decided that 400 children will be our downfall? Are you crazy?
In our mind’s eye we can already see the sights and hear the sounds: From one end of the world to the other, ranging from the BBC to CNN, Israelis will be portrayed as cruel and heartless in the next few weeks.
Longing for Begin
The images we shall see on television screens worldwide will be those of crying children, frightened parents, and our police officers. Is this what we need right now?
Can we try to look into the foreign workers issue thoroughly and come up with a comprehensive, decent solution without ruining what is left of the positive image we still cling to? Are 400 children our big problem these days?
At such moments I long for late Prime Minister Menachem Begin. For 30 years, Begin waited to become prime minister, and the moment he was finally elected, in 1977, his first decision as PM was to bring in Vietnamese refugees who were struggling in the stormy seas.
The result of this decision was that the entire world cheered for us. Hello, you people up there in the government, are the results of the Turkish flotilla raid not enough for you?