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#i24NEWS #DailyDosewithJeffSmith #Israel

Israel Begins Deporting Children of Filipino Workers

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Published on Jul 22, 2019

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#i24NEWS #DailyDosewithJeffSmith #Israel 

DAILY DOSE | Dozens of Filipino migrant workers and their children have been arrested for deportation recently, including some who were born and have been raised in Israel.

Just last week, three mothers who were arrested and jailed were pushed into signing an agreement to leave the country along with their children by July, a Haaretz report stated.

Most of the migrant workers are mothers, some of whom gave birth to children while working in Israel as social workers, taking care of the elderly and others with special needs.

However, since Israel law only gives citizenship to children born in Israel to Israeli citizens, many of the Filipino children who have been raised and feel at home in the Jewish state are illegal residents.

Hebrew is more often than not their first language, and some have never been to the Philippines.

Nearly 1500 children of Filipina workers are enrolled in the Israeli educational system, according to statistics reportedly provided by the Education Ministry to Haaretz.

While Israeli authorities deny any change in policy, the report found a jump in the number of deportation incidents in recent months.

“There have been numerous incidents recently of people being arrested and having to leave the country with their children,” said Eli Nehama, the principal of Bialik-Rogozin, a school where many of the migrant children study, according to Haaretz.

“Every such incident bears severe emotional repercussions for the children, and for other children who feel that they are the next in line. It creates anxiety, depression and learning difficulties. I am a civil servant whose job is to educate these children, and I am doing what I can to protect them. In the past, there have been arrests in the dead of night, and children would disappear without saying goodbye to their friends and the school, so I came to an arrangement with the Population and Immigration Authority by which deportation of families would only happen in the summer so the child could finish the school year.”

Four of some 20 Filipino parents (nearly all mothers) were arrested in the last few months with their children and immediately deported. The remainder signed deferred deportation orders for the summer, after reportedly being pressured through shouting and intimidation tactics.

“Mom told me we need to leave on Tuesday,” a 10-year-old whose mother was arrested last Sunday said according to the Haaretz report. “I’ve had nightmares every night since then. I can’t speak Tagalog, only Hebrew, and don’t know anything about the Philippines. I am an Israeli child. I know all the songs and holidays. Just let me stay in my home.”

Another mother tells of her son whom she describes as assimilated to the point where he refuses to eat pork in accordance with Judaism and wishes to serve in the army.

“My son doesn’t know anything outside of Israel. He won’t eat pork and only talks about how much he wants to be drafted into the army,” said a Filipina migrant worker. “He only speaks Hebrew. He is 13 and has never been in any other country. It’s a shame that state he so much wants to protect won’t protect him.”

Another mother tells of the troubling circumstances: “The children are traumatized. They see police and are scared. We came here legally to work, and we have lived here peacefully for years. Our children are Israelis. They want to stay in their home.”

Migrant workers have come together to form the United Children of Israel, which will hold a publicity event next Saturday called “Filipino Shabbath against Deportation.”

“We came to Israel legally many years ago, and have been taking care of the elderly and people with special needs with great dedication,” the organization stated in a public appeal. “Our children were born and grew up in Israel. Don’t let the deportation happen. Join the fight.”

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