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Filipino worker's wife and child expelled from Israel

The expulsion of a Filipino migrant worker's wife and child from Israel could mark the start of a more hardline stance against the residence of children of non-Jewish migrant worker communities, writes Giorgio Bernardelli in the Vatican Insider.

Updated: September 01, 2011 10:25 AM GMT
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Filipino worker's wife and child expelled from Israel

The basis of this story is one of the most hidden faces of the Israeli-Palestinian foreign labor laws that protects the Jewishness of the State of Israel (against) the fundamental right to a family. (Giorgio Bernardelli, Vatican Insider) ... Ofek Castillo, 4 years old – of Philippine origin but who was born and so far has only lived in Israel – was expelled with her mother Nancy on a flight from Ben Gurion airport, whose final destination was Manila. On Thursday 25, even the extreme attempt made the week before through Acri – the Association for civil rights in Israel – proved useless. And so, for the first time against the children of foreign immigrant workers, that hard line has been applied that for some time has been discussed in Israel. And it is a first that particularly disturbs the 50,000 Filipino Catholics working in the country, who now fear the same thing can happen to dozens of others of their children. ... It all begins in the Nineties, when the policy of checkpoints at the entrances to the Palestinian territories made it more difficult from Bethlehem, Ramallah and Beit Jalla to go daily to work in Israel. So the Israeli economy began to have an increasing need to replace Palestinian labor, and found the solution in the new global dynamics of the labor market: through international manpower agencies there began to arrive in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, Thais, Indians and – above all – Filipinos. Here, too, they became the caretakers of the elderly pioneers who arrived in Israel before or shortly after 1948. But they also found work washing dishes in hotels, or working as gardeners or drivers. ... If the foreign workers were to now put down roots – the reasoning went – the Jewishness of the State could be at risk. Thus a law was enacted that requires merely temporary presence of this workforce: the permit is not renewable for more than five and a half years from the first entry, except by a special permit signed by the Minister of the Interior himself. And – above all – just to prevent foreign workers from starting a family, an article of the law states that if an immigrant woman has a child while in Israel the baby should be in the country of origin within three months, on pain of revocation of the mother's residence permit. A provision so inhumane that it has never been seriously applied until now. FULL STORY Israel, Discrimination Against Filipino Catholics: the Ofek Case (Vatican Insider) PHOTO CREDIT RonAlmog on Flickr CC BY 2.0

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