Israel deports Filipino worker, Israeli-born son

United Children of Israel association said around 600 Filipino families could face deportation. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 August 2019

Israel deports Filipino worker, Israeli-born son

  • Some of these workers face deportation for starting families in Israel
  • Families say the policy is cruel

JERUSALEM: Israel has deported a Filipino migrant worker and her Israeli-born teenage son after 11th hour legal appeals failed, a children’s rights group and authorities said Tuesday.
She is among some 600 workers from the Philippines who activists say could face deportation over a loss of residency status.
They include those who breached the conditions of their residency by starting families in the country.
The families and supporters say deporting the children to a country which they have never seen and whose languages they do not speak is a cruel policy.
Rosemarie Perez was arrested by immigration officials along with her 13-year-old son Rohan last week for remaining in the country illegally.
They had been taken to Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on Sunday night after an appeals court upheld their deportation, Beth Franco of the United Children of Israel (UCI) association said.
But they were taken off the plane after their lawyer requested an urgent hearing on their status in a bid to have them remain in Israel.
On Monday evening, they were escorted to Ben-Gurion airport where they were put on a flight to Bangkok for onward connection to Manila, Franco said.
Israel’s immigration authority confirmed in a statement they had been deported, adding Perez had been in the country illegally for 12 years and that all court appeals had been exhausted.
Last week, migrants, their children and Israeli supporters held a protest in Tel Aviv against the policy of deporting Israeli-born children of migrants.
Many of the 28,000 — largely Christian — Filipinos in Israel arrived to work as caregivers and home help, but according to UCI, some 600 families could now face expulsion.
Their visas were conditioned on the requirement that they do not start a family in the country apart from certain exceptions, the association says.
The issue has particular resonance in Israel, where there are long-term fears about maintaining a Jewish majority in the country which was founded as a national homeland for Jews.


Lebanese protests swell as cabinet to hold key meeting

Updated 21 October 2019

Lebanese protests swell as cabinet to hold key meeting

  • Hundreds of thousands of people from across Lebanon’s sectarian divides rallied on Sunday
  • The protests have grown steadily since public anger first spilled onto the streets Thursday

BEIRUT: Lebanese protesters were expected to return to the streets for a fifth day Monday, with Prime Minister Saad Hariri holding a cabinet meeting to try to calm the unprecedented demonstrations.
Hundreds of thousands of people from across Lebanon’s sectarian divides rallied against corruption and the entire political class Sunday, the largest such demonstrations in the country for years.
Early Monday morning protesters began to block main roads and prevent employees going to work, while calls on social media urged people to boycott work.
Banks, universities and schools closed their doors Monday, with Hariri expected to offer reforms in a bid to stem the anger.
“It’s a day of destiny for us. All our hard work and efforts in previous days and years were to get us to this moment,” said Roni Al-Asaad, a 32-year-old activist in central Beirut.
“If they could have implemented these reforms before, why haven’t they? And why should we believe them today?”
At the nerve center of the demonstrations near the country’s houses of government in central Beirut, volunteers were once again collecting rubbish from the streets, many wearing face masks and plastic gloves.
The protests have grown steadily since public anger first spilled onto the streets Thursday evening in response to a proposed tax on calls via WhatsApp and other messaging services.
While the government quickly dropped that plan, the leaderless protests morphed into demands for a sweeping overhaul of the political system, with grievances ranging from austerity measures to poor infrastructure.
Hariri had given his coalition partners three days to support reforms he said were crucial to get the economy back on track.
On Sunday evening a cabinet official said that the parties had agreed.
The cabinet will hold a meeting chaired by President Michel Aoun at 10:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) to discuss the reforms.
Demonstrators said Hariri’s proposals would not be enough, with demands for the entire political class to resign.
“All of them are warlords,” said Patrick Chakar, 20. “We waited 30 years or more for them to change and they didn’t.”
More than a quarter of Lebanon’s population lives below the poverty line, the World Bank says, while the political class has remained relatively unchanged since the end of a devastating 15-year civil war in 1990.
Lebanon ranked 138 out of 180 in Transparency International’s 2018 corruption index, and residents suffer chronic electricity and water shortages.
Lebanese media hailed the demonstrations.
Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to Shiite Muslim militant party Hezbollah, published a picture of protesters carrying a giant flag on its front page with a commentary on “Test Day: Power or People?”
The French-language newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour said “The hour of truth has arrived,” while the English-language The Daily Star said: “Lebanon’s only paths: reform or abyss.”