Israel's High Court Blocks State From Deporting Pregnant Foreign Workers

Judge calls former policy intrinsic breach of foreign workers' rights; the policy mandated that foreign workers must leave the country after their baby is born, and can only return without the child.

The High Court of Justice retracted on Wednesday an Israeli policy mandating that a pregnant foreign worker who stops working to give birth loses her work visa for 90 days after the birth. During that time, the woman must leave Israel and can only return without the infant.

Judge Ayala Procaccia overturned the policy  Wednesday, calling on the Ministry of Interior to take steps to formulate a new policy. She attacked the former policy saying that it constitutes an intrinsic breach of foreign workers' rights, stripping them of basic familial privileges.

David Bachar

She continued, saying that it was unjust to give foreign women the right to work here and then expect them to continue working in spite of giving birth.

The judge called the policy a deep breach of the foreign worker's rights, saying "it affects her right to be a parent, to have a family and to support herself. The policy is incongruent with Israeli labor laws that safeguard the rights of the woman both during and after birth."

Procaccia called the policy discriminatory, saying foreign workers are entitled to equal workers' rights, adding that it goes against the protection of foreign workers' rights, and is harmful to international confidence.

The policy was initially appealed in 2005 by Naamat, a center that assists foreign workers, and Doctors for Human Rights.