Sheetrit Enraged After Migrant Worker Advocates Call State 'Kafkaesque'

Sheetrit blows up in Knesset meeting on establishing regulations to grant residence permits to trafficking victims.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit became enraged on Wednesday during a joint meeting of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers and the Subcommittee on the Trafficking in Women, after human rights organizations blamed the Population Registry for "Kafkaesque policy."

The minister interrupted the meeting, gathered his things and accused Lea Greenpeter-Gold, director of the Toda'ah Institute for the study of prostitution, of slander. "I don't owe her answers. I can't listen to these attacks on the State," he said.

Greenpeter-Gold said that the Interior Ministry refuses to give women married to Israelis residence permits if they were former victims of trafficking. "It's inconceivable. It's a living example of Kafkaesque policy," she said.

The meeting was called to address the fact that more than a year after a law on combating human trafficking was passed, regulations granting residence status to victims have not yet been established. The Justice Ministry's Rachel Gershoni, head of the inter-ministerial coordinator for fighting human trafficking, promised that the regulations will be released in one month.

Attorney Adi Willinger of the Hotline for Migrant Workers said that the victims of trafficking suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and that they should be granted permits to allow them rehabilitation treatment. She said that all of the residence applications submitted to the Interior Ministry were rejected, but whenever a petition was filed with the courts, the Interior Ministry consistently issued the permit immediately and without a hearing.