Israel Arrests Four Migrant Workers While Kids at School, Leaving Children Alone

In one case, woman and her two children detained for several hours ■ Immigration authority: Mothers here illegally 'show a minimum of parental responsibility'

Irene Ilang with her children, Jerine and Joshua.
United Children Israel

Four women were arrested for allegedly living in Israel illegally in the past week, while their children were in school and without the schools being notified.

In three of the cases the children were left unattended, while in a fourth case the children were arrested along with their mother.

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An organization representing women from the Philippines in Israel said that on Sunday, Irene Ilang was arrested while her daughter Jerine, 9, was at school and her son, Joshua, 3, was at preschool. Jerine waited at home for hours by herself while her brother was not picked up from preschool. Ilang later asked that the children be brought to her and all three were kept in custody until the morning, when the woman's attorney secured their release with a bail of 30,000 shekels (8,760).

On Tuesday, a woman from the Philippines was arrested while her 7-year-old was in school. She remains in custody at Givon Prison while her son is cared for by relatives and friends. A day later the mother of a 13-year-old girl was arrested while her daughter was at school. The woman was released many hours later, and inspectors failed to allow her to call her daughter while she was in custody. On Thursday, Jennifer Flores, mother of Charlotte, 12, was arrested. Neighbors informed Charlotte of her mother's arrest when she returned home from school. Flores is being held in Givon Jail.

According from figures obtained by the organization representing the women, immigration authorities have arrested 21 schoolchildren, seven of whom were over the age of 12. Ten mothers have also been arrested without their children. Minors spent a total of 154 days in detention. One was detained for 31 days, and another for 21.

The Population and Immigration Authority said in response: “The reports as usual present a picture that is distorted and absurd, and in particular inaccurate. "Surprisingly, there’s no mention of the fact that these are mothers who continue to remain here against the law, failing to show a minimum of parental responsibility and with the full support of irresponsible Israelis," the authority said. "It seems that taking people  in the  country illegally into  custody early in the morning is not a good time, arresting them in the afternoon  is not a good  time either, nor is it good to detain them  in  the evening. We clarify again that we don’t enter educational institutions and that when a woman is taken into custody on the street it is done without knowing whether she has any children.”