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Israel looking at year-round deportation

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Students of the Hillel School in Ramat Gan hug their Filipino classmate, Khean Esta (fourth from left), who is due for deportation anytime along with his mother and younger sister. (Haaretz)

Here comes another bad news for distressed Filipinos in Israel.

The Interior Ministry said Sunday that it will now deport Filipina workers and their school-aged children even during the school year.

Last year, the ministry’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority decided that families with children enrolled in school would be deported only during summer vacation.

The new policy is a reversion to that of previous years, when families with children were deported year-round.

Nevertheless, the authority has promised that it will not arrest children slated for deportation while they are at school or on their way to and from school, according to a letter disseminated to Tel Aviv principals by the head of the city’s education department.

The letter said that Mayor Ron Huldai had negotiated the policy of keeping schools off-limits with the director of the Immigration Authority, Shlomo Mor-Yosef, to allow children to attend classes and return home without fear of arrest.

On Sunday, students at a number of Tel Aviv schools demonstrated against the planned deportations of their classmates.

Ram Cohen, principal of the city’s Tichonet High School, also mounted an exhibit on school grounds with the names and photos of students slated for deportation.

“Mr. Mor-Yosef ought to be ashamed of the job he has taken on,” Cohen wrote in a Facebook post.

“He is betraying his medical calling, betraying his oath as a doctor, betraying the loftiest and most basic human values. About him, I can’t say a person is a person is a person. He isn’t!” referring to Mor-Yosef’s previous profession as a gynecologist and director of Hadassah University Hospital.

A few days before the school year began on Sunday, dozens of school principals and parents associations in Tel Aviv sent a letter to Interior Minister Arye Dery demanding that deportations of Filipino children be halted during the school year.

“We demand that children of Filipino origin who aren’t Israeli citizens, the classmates of our children, be allowed to emerge from hiding and plan for the school year, which begins in less than a week, in peace,” said the letter, which was organized by Deputy Mayor Tzipi Brand.

New academic year

Some 2,354,000 Israeli schoolchildren, from preschool age through high school, started the 2019-2020 academic year on Sunday morning, 170,000 of them for the first time.

They were received in the classroom by 200,000 teachers and school employees.

The numbers tell of Israel’s growing population: Some 132,000 12th-graders are entering their last year of public education, while 168,000 first-graders are starting their first.

According to the Education Ministry, 49 schools and 495 kindergartens were on strike Sunday, leaving 34,372 children at home at least for part of the day.

All the strikes are by local teachers’ or parents’ groups over specific local concerns.

Over 1,300 part-time contractor teachers are also striking to demand higher pay, affecting some 4,000 students. (Haaretz)

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