Oscar Winning Illegals to Stay?

MK Ben-Ari scolds interior Minister Eli Yishai for delaying deportation of illegal aliens in Oscar-winning film. "The law is the law," he insists.

Gabe Kahn. , | updated: 22:50

MK Ben Ari
MK Ben Ari
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

National Union MK Michael Ben Ari, in an urgent letter addressed to Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas Party, requested the immediate deportation of the children of illegal foreign workers, "even those who won an Oscar."

Ben Ari wrote, "I was shocked to read today, sir, that the deportation of the children of foreign workers is being postponed because some of them took part in a film that won an Oscar. Our leaders who should prove that the law is the law and it cannot be twisted or bent because someone - as talented as they may be - won an Oscar."

Ben-Ari concluded, "With respect and appreciation, I would like to inform you that if you change your previous decision I will have to go to court to demand intervention. It cannot be that law in the State of Israel is not honored because someone won an Oscar. I ask you to respect the law and order the deportation of [all] those staying illegally in Israel."

MK Ben Ari's sardonic letter was written on the heels of reports that the Interior Ministry was delaying the deportation the children of foreign workers from the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, who appeared in Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon's documentary film, 'Strangers No More," which won the Oscar on Sunday, 27th February, 2011, for the Academy Award category, ‘Documentary Short Subject.’

On Wednesay, Interior Minister Eli Yishai instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to postpone the deportation of children and families of foreign workers enrolled in state-run kindergartens and preschools, which was supposed to begin this week. Yishai instead opted to deport the children and their families to their respective countries gradually to avoid placing undue pressure on families whose children are in the middle of the school year.

There are currently over a quarter million foreign workers residing illegally in Israel, which has become a hot button topic in a nation with a population of only 7.6 million people. While some illegal immigrants have infiltrated or overstayed their visas to Israel to escape genocide, war, hunger, and other desperate situations, the majority come to take advantage of Israel's rapid economic development and extensive social programs. Their illegal status saves employees money on income taxes, but raises unemployment statistics for legal Israeli workers.   ThTheTh