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The cabinet cannot decide to permit all of the children of migrant workers as a group to remain in the country, ministers said over the weekend, amid efforts to have the issue reexamined.

The State Prosecutor's Office said the law requires that exemption from deportation be judged on a individual basis in accordance with criteria set by a committee established to deal with the issue, but most requests on behalf of children for an exemption from deportation are expected to be granted in any event.

Of the requests for exemption from deportation filed so far, about 60 have been rejected.

Over the last few days, sources in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said although Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request for the cabinet to reconsider the recent order to deport 400 children of foreign workers had not yet been received, they would not rule out Netanyahu's consent to such a discussion at an upcoming cabinet meeting.

Political sources said Saturday that to the extent that handling of the issue is up to Netanyahu, the rescinding of the order is just a matter of time.

The sources said in light of pressure on the prime minister to revoke the expulsion order from Barak and from his wife, Sara, who came out publicly against the policy, the direction in which the matter is moving is clear.

Reconsideration by the cabinet, however, is primarily up to Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who in recent weeks said he opposes reconsideration of the matter.

Furthermore, if the cabinet does hold further discussions, it is not certain the issue would be put to a vote.