Israel's 'X Factor' Winner Can Rejoice, but Not Sing

Rose Fostanes is in Israel on a special, caregiver visa that prevents her from earning money in any other capacity.

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Rose Fostanes, the 47-year-old caregiver from the Philippines who won the first season of Israel's "X Factor" reality TV show on Tuesday night, might not be able to sing professionally in Israel.

Fostanes, who took Israel by storm during the course of the show, is in Israel on a work permit that allows her to work as a caregiver only, Ynet website reported on Wednesday. She is forbidden from working in any other capacity.

Ynet quoted a source at Israel's Population, Immigration and Border Authority as saying that Fostanes is in Israel on a special caregiver visa for foreign workers employed in the field. The visa bars her from earning money in any other capacity.

"Under no circumstance can Rose be paid to be a singer in Israel," the source said. "There's no problem if she performs at weddings for free, but she cannot receive any payment."

In terms of the law, "a foreign worker cannot work in any job that is not permitted on their work visa, not even on weekends or in their free time." The law also states that any attempt to do so, "will be considered a violation of the visa."

"I'm just a caregiver who wants to be a singer," Fostanes told Ynet, "I don't know what will happen now."

Fostanes is one of about 40,000 Filipinos who work in caregiving jobs in Israel. She has been living and working in Israel as a caregiver for the past six years, caring and cleaning for an ailing woman and living in a crowded apartment in south Tel Aviv with seven other people.

Several months ago, a friend encouraged Fostanes to audition for the “X-Factor,” a popular show hosted by Israeli super-model Bar Refaeli. At just 1.50 meters tall, Fostanes captured her audiences’ hearts with a surprisingly strong and soulful voice, belting out such hits as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Lady Gaga’s “You and I.”

In an upset victory, Fostanes received the most votes among the four finalists with a rendition of "My Way," a song popularized by Frank Sinatra.

 "I don't know. I cannot say anything," a shocked Fostanes said moments after winning. "Thank you so much to all the Israelis who like my voice, who like my songs and thank you to all the Filipinos," she said.

The final was attended by the Philippines ambassador to Tel Aviv, as well as her sister and her partner since the age of 16, both of whom were flown to Israel by the producers of the show.

Rose Fostanes celebrates with friends and family in a Tel Aviv bar after her 'X-Factor' victory.Credit: AFP

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