We Are Hiding a Filipino Girl to Protect Her From Deportation

A girl is holding a sign at a demonstration against the deportation of children from Israel, Tel Aviv, June 2019
Olivier Fitoussi

The child we are hiding

My partner and I live in the Tel Aviv area. We are sheltering a foreign worker from the Philippines and her 12-year-old daughter. All our friends say we are amazing heroes!

I have a friend whose grandparents were Righteous Gentiles. During World War II, they hid two Jewish teenage boys, and later on an older man and after that a couple, all while raising four young children. My partner and I raise tropical fish. My friend’s grandparents risked their lives and, even more seriously, that of their four children. My partner and I are risking, well, our personal comfort. It’s inconvenient to have house guests. I can’t walk around in my underwear, I have to see to the needs of a 12-year-old, suddenly there’s a line for the bathroom and all sorts of really inconvenient things! And for that, we’re considered heroes. The heroes of the day.

To the democratic left, a hero is someone who is willing to risk his personal comfort. I admire the settlers. They are willing to risk everything for their beliefs, including their lives. And we here, in our lovely bubble, what are we willing to risk? Perhaps an hour at a demonstration or maybe a biting post on Facebook. Then we suddenly meet a real hero, someone willing to forsake life’s pleasures for the benefit of others. How pathetic.

So many people around me are shocked to core of their sensitive souls over what is being done to these women, and yet, where is the revolution? Why aren’t people going out and blocking roads? Why isn’t the shock being translated into action? It’s because it’s all so “complex,” and that paralyzes us. Maybe we enjoy being paralyzed? That way you can feel good and moral without having to give up anything. One day after the war, the Righteous Gentile’s daughter asked how she had dared to endanger herself and them. Her answer was that she wasn’t willing to raise children in a world where people don’t help each other. Happily, the only thing I’m raising are fish.

Name withheld at writer’s request