Musicians Sing Out for Foreign Workers' Children in South Tel Aviv

Folk rock singer Alma Zohar and several other musicians sang with two dozen foreign workers' children at a kindergarten in south Tel Aviv yesterday, to demonstrate their opposition to the planned deportation of 1,200 children of foreign laborers.

The musicians taught the children the Shotei Hanevua song "Hayeladim Koftzim" ("The Children Are Jumping"), and played music and sang with the kids.

"This is a positive community of downtrodden people who came to work," Zohar said. "The state brings them here, we enjoy their services, and we have to treat them with respect."

Zohar has organized a project to bring the children of foreign workers to a performance festival in the Negev next weekend. The singer, who says she was active in supporting refugees and foreign laborers before she became well-known, asked the other performers to take part in the project.

"Importing the foreign workers is Israel's stated goal, and the state is continuing to import workers as it deports those who are currently in Israel," she wrote to the performers. She also encouraged the musicians to bring their own children. Singer Dan Toren brought his son Itai.

"None of us, the artists, are an expert in demographics," said percussionist Noa Golandski, who participated in the event yesterday. "The motivation is to elevate the human spirit. It's our obligation to look at the backyards of Tel Aviv and Israel."

Other artists who participated in the event were actor Alon Abutbul, who is behind the Negev festival, musicians Gadi Altman and Michael Greilsammer, and the members of the band Peh Gadol.

Golandski said it was too bad more artists aren't involved in social issues.

"Everyone feels threatened," she said. "People think that if you help the other, it might come at your expense. That's something fundamental that needs to change."