Eli Yishai Tells Knesset Deportations Will Stop Foreign Workers From Using Kids as 'Baby Visas'

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas ) broke his silence on the government decision to expel 400 children of foreign workers yesterday by telling the Knesset the outcry over the move was "hypocrisy."

Tomer Appelbaum

"We must go to the children of foreign workers and say: 'The trip is over. We are going back to our country, to grandpa and grandma, rich.' Will any of these children get up and cry? Stop with this nonsense. Stop with the hypocrisy," he said during a special session of the Knesset.

The cabinet voted two weeks ago to deport 400 of the 1,200 children of foreign workers living here illegally.

Yishai said the status quo is creating a situation in which "when the foreigners realize the hypocrisy they realize that the only criterion for staying [in Israel] is the 'baby visa.'"

MK Ilan Ghilon of Meretz disrupted Yishai during his address and called him "a racist and primitive."

"The children you want to expel serve in the army more than your children," Ghilon shouted.

"Everyone knows full well that the parents are using their children," Yishai said. "I am in favor of telling the parents of all 1,200 children, without exception, not to use them as a human shield. They are no insurance policy."

Yishai said allowing them to stay would serve to compound the problem.

"The foreigners came to Israel, some of the illegally, they had children here illegally," the Interior Minister said. "How do you know that there are 800? Perhaps there are 2,000 or 3,000? If we allow them then next time we will have 10,000," he warned.

The Shas leader also accused the media and ministers of creating a hostile attitude toward the decision and said that he was "trying not to be blatant in the wave of hypocrisy that surrounds us in the Knesset, and in the media, and among the ministers. The time has come to remove the mask of hypocrisy and face the facts: A committee was set up with representatives of various ministries, which decided not to expel anyone but to send them back to their country."

"I am not a racist," Yishai said in response to Ghilon. "This is an existential threat to the State of Israel. In a few years there will be two million foreigners here, so where will we live? Will we go back to Morocco or Poland?"

"I do not want to expel the children, I do not want to allow their parents, from the start, to sneak in here and look for work, and then, they have children and it is not possible to get them out. As far as I am concerned they should go back to their grandpa and grandma," Yishai said.

Following numerous disruptions by Ghilon, Yishai asked Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin why he was discriminating against him, since Rivlin had earlier ejected MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) from the plenum when he disrupted the speech of MK Haim Oron.