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Women Workers May Be Forced To Send Babies Abroad

[ Translator's note: Such a "humanitarian" measure as described below is something that one might associate with Australia's Howard government. One would expect something better from a people who are used to exile and suffering. But no, this is the way in which foreigners who have replaced Palestinian labour are treated in Israel. No wonder then that many of those who have commented on the item alluded to Pharaoh's treatment of the Children of Israel. – Sol Salbe]

Women Foreign Workers May Be Forced To Send Their Babies Abroad

Tuesday 26 October 2004 12.55
By Relly Sa'ar - Haaretz

In Israel, a new procedure compels legal female foreign workers who have babies to make a choice. If they are unemployed they have to decide three months after the birth whether to leave the country or not. The only way they can stay is by sending the child to be cared for by relatives abroad.

The head of the Population Registry, Sasi Katzir, has decided on the new procedure to apply to foreign workers who are in an advanced state of pregnancy. Under the "Pregnant foreign worker procedure" a female foreign worker who does not have a regular employer can remain in the country up to three months after the birth of her child. Then she has to decide whether to leave Israel or send the baby to the care of relatives abroad.

The procedure determines that a foreign worker who is legally in the country, who is in the sixth month of pregnancy onwards, and who does not have a regular employer, can apply to a Population Registry bureau for a permit to remain in Israel as a tourist instead of the normal working permit.

If such a foreign worker does not have first degree relatives in the country - parents, a partner or children -- she would be issued a tourist permit by the Population Registry for a period up to three months from the estimated date of birth. After that point she has to decide whether to leave Israel with her baby or send her new baby to her family abroad.

A spokesperson for the Population Registry, Sabine Haddad, explained that "this is a humanitarian measure to improve the lot of legal foreign workers whose employment has ceased for whatever reason and who are in an advanced state of pregnancy. In this way they are to be granted a temporary alternative status and would therefore not be repatriated out of the country. This would cover the period from the birth to three months afterwards.

The spokesperson said that hitherto, workers whose employment has been terminated were compelled to leave the country immediately. She added that the Population Registry wanted to avoid the situation in which an unemployed worker at the end of her pregnancy would be caught by the immigration police and immediately repatriated.


[Translated by Sol Salbe from Walla! - an Internet portal owned by Haaretz.

The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is generously sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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