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Israel to deport OFW sans ‘missing’ children

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A young protester holds a sign at a demonstration against the deportation of children from Israel. (Haaretz)

An appeals court in Tel Aviv has rejected an appeal against the deportation of a Filipina mother who was arrested two weeks ago without her Israeli-born children.

The court ruled that the mother, whose name has been barred from publication, “made cynical use of her children” after hiding them from the authorities in an attempt to prevent their deportation.

The court ruled that she should be deported within 48 hours. The children, aged 10 and 12, may join their mother so that they can be deported together.

Another report identified the Filipina as Jodaline Dela Vega.

Judge Shlomi Wiesen rejected the mother’s claims that her deportation was a violation of her right to family life, and would harm her children.

“The plaintiff failed to prove that the minors are dependent on her and that the three comprise a family unit in the simple sense of the word,” he wrote.

He added that she had not proven that the children were living in her apartment.

“There is nothing to stop her and her children from living together in her country of origin, the Philippines, forming a family unit there.  The lack of cooperation by the appellant and the hiding of her children through a third party is an extreme case of foiling the work of the Interior Ministry, demonstrating a cynical use of these minors,” added Wiesen.

Accepting her appeal, he noted, would be an incentive for others to repeat this tactic when finding themselves in similar circumstances.

The Population and Immigration Authority claims the overseas Filipina worker (OFW), who has been in Israel since 2004, can be deported since she has not proven she is the children’s mother. She is currently considered an illegal resident with no children despite her attorney providing birth certificates and letters from their schools. The Authority says that if she proved she had children, it would help them leave with her.

The mother and children’s lawyer, Yishai Sarid, said he would appeal this decision at the District Court. Several non-profit organizations, including WIZO, Na’amat, the women’s lobby, the Achoti for Women in Israel movement, will join the petition as friends of the court.

Tel Aviv Yafo’s deputy mayor Tzipi Brand said that “it’s unbelievable that a court in Israel has made such a wretched decision, a stain on us all as citizens of this country. Undoubtedly, the District Court will reverse it.” (Haaretz)

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