Are Israeli kibbutzim becoming 'sanctuary cities' for illegals?

Sheffi Paz, an activist for the residents of south Tel Aviv: 'Not only do they hide them, but they present it as an act of heroism.'

Nitzan Keidar ,

Sheffi Paz
Sheffi Paz
Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS

Sheffi Paz, a social activist in south Tel Aviv who has lobbied the government to deport illegal immigrants from Israel, accused a number of kibbutzim of providing migrant workers illegally residing in Israel with refuge from the law, claiming some have even boasted that they host illegal immigrant mothers and children during the summer months.

"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."

"They received a deportation order but asked for a reprieve. Officials told them that they would let their children finish the school year on the condition that they sign a guarantee to leave and show proof of plane tickets. When the time comes for them to leave, they don't leave," Paz explained to Arutz Sheva.

Paz says that the kibbutzim are violating the law. "Beyond the fact that they carry out endless demonstrations and a crazy campaign showing Filipino children crying in front of the camera, the kibbutzim hide them. They removed them from the city, dispersed them in several communities and kibbutzim until the end of August, with the intention that they will be re-enrolled in school and once again, it will be difficult to expel them. This is how they outwit the system. What the kibbutzim are doing is a violation of the law and concealment of wanted criminals by the state."

"Not only do they hide them, but they present it as an act of heroism. One member of the kibbutz movement wrote: 'The glint in the eyes, the dedication and the not simple risk involved in this act put the members in the same category as the Righteous Among the Nations during the Holocaust and the Inquisition in Spain.'"

"People are hiding Filipino families who don't truly face any danger. Manila is not Auschwitz and there is no genocide or civil war in the Philippines. A large number of the children's fathers are there, their families are there - it's a matter of relocation. What does this mean for the State of Israel?"

Paz is concerned that the state will surrender and recognize some of the children. "The most serious problem in this story is that in the past they told us that they won't send them to their deaths and today the only excuse is that they were born in Israel and speak only Hebrew. In my viewpoint, this is not an argument. If the state recognizes Filipinos due to the massive public pressure and because they were born in Israel and speak only Hebrew, we're done for. There will be no more immigration policy. The first thing every immigrant will do upon arrival is have a child."

On Tuesday, a demonstration for immigrants will be held at the Tel Aviv Museum Square, and Paz promises to be there and this time she won't demonstrate from afar.

"They call it an emergency demonstration and I call it an incitement and insurgency rally. We, instead of holding a demonstration from afar, call on the public to come, attend the demonstration and express their views. You are not called to do anything illegal, but to be there and serve as a counterbalance, and not from afar. They won't identify you - take off your kippahs (skullcaps) - because from the viewpoint of the police, a kippah is a sign of being right-wing. Come, join the demonstration and say what you think of them. Someone needs to put an end to this madness."



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