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.


Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

Updated 35 min 40 sec ago

Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

  • 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures
  • A source said a fire had started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored

BEIRUT: Initial investigations indicate years of inaction and negligence over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port caused the blast that killed over 100 people on Tuesday, an official source familiar with the findings said.
The prime minister and presidency said on Tuesday that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures.
"It is negligence," the official source told Reuters, adding that the storage safety issue had been before several committees and judges and "nothing was done" to issue an order to remove or dispose of the highly combustible material.
The source said a fire had started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored.
Tuesday's explosion was the most powerful ever suffered by Beirut, a city is still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from a deep financial crisis rooted in decades of corruption and economic mismanagement.
Badri Daher, Director General of Lebanese Customs, told broadcaster LBCI on Wednesday that customs had sent six documents to the judiciary warning that the material posed a danger.
"We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why," Daher said.
Another source close to a port employee said a team that inspected the ammonium nitrate six months ago warned that if it was not moved it would "blow up all of Beirut".
According to two documents seen by Reuters, Lebanese Customs had asked the judiciary in 2016 and 2017 to ask the "concerned maritime agency" to re-export or approve the sale of the ammonium nitrate, removed from the a cargo vessel, Rhosus, and deposited in warehouse 12, to ensure port safety.
One of the documents cited similar requests in 2014 and 2015.
"A local and international investigation needs to be conducted into the incident, given the scale and the circumstances under which these goods were brought into the ports," said Ghassan Hasbani, former deputy prime minister and a member of the Lebanese Forces party.
Shiparrested.com, an industry network dealing with legal cases, had said in a 2015 report that the Rhosus, sailing under a Moldovan flag, docked in Beirut in September 2013 when it had technical problems while sailing from Georgia to Mozambique with 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
It said that, upon inspection, the vessel was forbidden from sailing and shortly afterwards it was abandoned by its owners, leading to various creditors coming forward with legal claims.
"Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port's warehouses," it added.