Barak. Demands another discussion
Photo: Yaron Brener
Netanyahu. 'Discussion will have to take place'
Photo: Reuters
Peres. Supports children
Photo: AP

Cabinet to re-discuss kids' deportation

Aide to prime minister says government will have to hold another discussion on fate of foreign workers' children following demands made by Labor ministers

As the deportation of children of foreign workers living in Israel illegally draws near, it appears Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to give in to the pressures and hold another cabinet discussion on the matter.


"With a coalition partners like the Labor Party, which is demanding such a discussion, it will have to take place eventually," a source close to the prime minister told Ynet on Thursday night.


The government decided in early September to adopt the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee which set criteria for children who would be allowed to stay in Israel.


The decision, backed by 13 ministers and opposed by 10, means that some 400 children who fail to meet the criteria will be deported and some 800 will be allowed to stay. It is still unclear when the further discussion will be held.


After President Shimon Peres said Thursday that none of the children should be deported, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) joined the calls for a further government discussion.


Talking to Ynet, Sa'ar said, "I call for another discussion on the issue of foreign workers' children, in a bid to prevent the deportation of students in the education system. On Wednesday all these children will begin the school year, and I will continue to do my best to ensure that they all complete it here in Israel, together with everyone else."


Earlier this week Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a firm demand for another cabinet discussion, but sources at Netanyahu's office insisted that it would not take place.


Barak was supported by fellow Labor member, Minister Shalom Simhon, who said it was "unthinkable" not to hold the discussion. The defense minister was abroad during the government vote, did not leave behind a note with his vote, and expressed his objection to the decision only several days later.


Those objection the deportations received the president's firm support on Thursday. Speaking at a conference in the central city of Ramat Gan, Peres said, "Regarding the 400 children who were born in Israel, speak Hebrew, and feel Israeli, deporting them is out of the question. My opinion is unequivocal: These children must be allowed to remain in Israel."


Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) refused to respond to the president's remarks. His associates noted, however, that the decision was made by the government following a thorough discussion. "It's a legitimate decision," one of them stressed, adding that the minister was convinced that the matter would not be discussed again.


Knesset Member Yaakov Katz (National Union), chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Workers, slammed Peres, saying that "the president must not undermine the Netanyahu government's decisions. He must engage in encouraging aliyah and settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel."


Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 08.27.10, 07:58
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