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The countdown for the next project of naturalizing the children of foreign workers began yesterday. This is not up to the government. It's in the nature of the world at large. From the moment Israel started accepting migrant workers, they have been giving birth to children who grow up as Israelis, because they know nowhere else. This is a problem, and it must be solved.

Since the recent project of naturalizing foreign workers' children was quite generous, it is likely that the next round will be put off for several years.

The hardline interior ministers are usually successful in implementing their policy. Those who take a humanitarian approach fail due to a lack of cooperation from ministry officials and the Attorney General's Office. Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, however, adopted a generous attitude toward the migrant workers' children and managed to implement it. Perhaps not having an image of a bleeding heart liberal helped him.

The initial project Bar-On announced a year ago required candidates to have been living in Israel for six years instead of 10, and included children who had not been born in Israel. But Bar-On bent the requirements even further. Those who turn six by the beginning of the next school year can stay.

Israel will gain some 1,500 new citizens in the next few days, mostly educated, well-behaved and law-abiding. They love Israel and wish to integrate here and serve in the army. It is so obvious that Israel should help these extremely Israeli children and so hard to understand why it involved such a difficult struggle. In some cases these children's fathers were deported and will not be able to return. The joy of receiving citizenship is therefore mixed with the tragedy of the family's destruction.