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X-Factor Winner Approved to Sing in Israel

After facing problems with immigration officials, Israel's X-Factor winner Rose Fostanes is now legally cleared to sing in Israel.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 1/21/2014, 3:14 AM

Filipina caregiver Rose Fostanes, X-Factor winner
Filipina caregiver Rose Fostanes, X-Factor winner
Reuters

A 47-year-old Filipina caregiver who won Israel's X-Factor talent show last week has overcome another challenge: permission to earn a living through her talent in Israel.  

Rose Fostanes, who had been living and working in Tel Aviv for the past 6 years to make money for her family in the Phillippines, won the talent competition last week. 

"This is the greatest change in my life," Fostanes told Channel 10. "It's a dream come true for me. I didn't believe I'd reach such a happy moment in my life, especially in Israel that I love so much."

However, Fostanes ran into problems with immigration officials, when it was revealed that her visa status did not include a work permit. 

On Monday, that changed when Interior Minister Gidon Sa'ar issued a statement saying he had decided to allow Fostanes to work as an artist.

The minister "ordered the population and immigration authority to grant Rose Fostanes permission to work as a singer in Israel," according to a statement by the Immigration and Population Authority. 

"Minister Sa'ar decided to agree to her request and allow her a work permit as an artist," it said, noting such permission was subject to the agreement of the family she had been working for.

According to Globes, Fostanes was offered two options: to sing for a limited number of hours and continue her caregiving duties, or to sing an unlimited number of hours but stop providing caregiving services for her host family. After consulting with the family, Fostanes chose the latter. 

AFP notes that Fostanes has been likened by fans to Susan Boyle, the middle-aged Scottish singer whose humble looks and shy demeanor belied a scintillating voice that captivated millions on the television talent show Britain's Got Talent in 2009.

1.5 meter (4'11") tall Fostanes won the contest singing English songs, including Frank Sinatra's classic "My Way," Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," and British band Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams."

The show is incredibly popular; the first episode aired enjoyed a viewership rating of 40%, becoming the highest rated opening episode of any music program in Israel.