South Tel Aviv activist: Kibbutzim are hiding illegal migrants

“Not only do they hide them, but they present it as an act of heroism,” activist Sheffi Paz told Arutz 7.

By World Israel News Staff

Ahead of a demonstration in support of the rights of illegal migrants to be held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, at least one south Tel Aviv resident says that she will also be right there as a counter-demonstrator.

Israel has been faced with a controversy surrounding individuals who sneak across Israel’s southern border from Sinai to enter a free, democratic country. It is disputed as to whether they are economic migrants or asylum seekers.

The Israeli government has made a number of attempts to stifle the flow but has been repeatedly challenged by the High Court of Justice.

Another issue in the headlines involves the question of foreign workers who receive work permits, have children once they are in Israel, and then their permits expire.

An administrative appeals judge last week upheld the deportation order issued against a Filipino woman, Geraldine Esta, and her two children, Kiyan, 10, and Katherine, 5.

Caregivers from the Philippines are a common sight in Israel. Many leave their families behind and see their higher salaries in Israel as a means of supporting their kids back home. Some, however,  give birth to children in Israel, putting the state in a bind.

According to activist Sheffi Paz, “There are about 36 mothers with 50 children, most of them from the Philippines, who were caught during the year as illegal residents of Israel. These are people who came to Israel with a permit but at some point left their workplaces and moved to more lucrative jobs and had children. They were supposed to leave the country and then began living under the radar,” she told the Arutz 7 news website.

She accuses a number of kibbutzim of providing migrant workers “illegally residing in Israel with refuge from the law,” claiming that some of these collective communities “have even boasted that they host illegal immigrant mothers and children during the summer months,” says the news outlet.

“Not only do they hide them, but they present it as an act of heroism,” says Paz, saying that one member of the kibbutz movement went as far as placing the efforts to hide these families “in the same category as the Righteous Among the Nations during the Holocaust and the Inquisition in Spain.”

“Manila is not Auschwitz and there is no genocide or civil war in the Philippines,” counters Paz in the Arutz 7 interview.

She made similar comments at a conference on July 28 of Im Tirtzu, a Zionist non-governmental organization.

“If the state recognizes Filipinos due to the massive public pressure and because they were born in Israel and speak only Hebrew, we’re finished. The first thing every migrant will do upon arrival is have a child,” she warns.