Thank You, Israel's Foreign Workers

They are doing us a favor by staying

It is important to take part in this demonstration - to be there and show solidarity and support. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already retracted several stupid, arbitrary decisions when he was made aware of the public's feelings.

Children of foreign workers in Israel
Ofer Vaknin

The way to expel the foreign workers was paved with malicious intentions from the start, as well as lies. The Interior Ministry used a crude lie as the basis of the media campaign against employing foreign workers, claiming it robbed Israelis of work.

Israelis have become acquainted in recent months with Eli Shemesh, father of four, Rani Carmeli, a discharged soldier, and Noa Harel, a student. All desperately seeking work, but in vain, because foreign workers are taking their place and livelihood.

Why did Interior Minister Eli Yishai need actors, instead of using real life characters in his campaign? Because they don't exist. There is no Eli, Rani or Noa, there are only imaginary people, created in the image of advertisers for hire. Foreigners are hard for Israel to bear, like the plague and other contagious diseases.

Had aliens really been a cause for concern, the government would have dealt with the slave traffickers rather than their victims. But the well-connected slave traffickers and their dirty money remain untouched.

Instead, the government is permitting the pimps to import more workers every day, to replace those who are deported. Wretched people from all over the world are brought to work in agriculture, construction and taking care of the elderly. The deportation is not intended to make room for Israelis but for other foreigners, on whose exploited backs several people make a profit.

Instead of launching a xenophobic media campaign, the government should publish "thank you" notices for the aliens living among us. Without them - cutting trees, pumping water and wiping the asses of the feeble among us - the state would grind to a halt. The helpless would be abandoned.

If the minister decides to give foreign workers' children living in Israel more than five years, and their families resident status, it would demonstrate how merciful and gracious we are, albeit too little, too late.

But the truth is, we're not doing them a favor, they are doing us a favor by staying here.

I've already told you once the story of the boy - son of a Filipina - who calls my wife grandmother and me grandfather. His language is Hebrew - he has no other tongue and no other country.

Let's say they deported him. It would cause much suffering and pain. He would forget with time, erase us, who gave him up, from his mind. He is altogether six years old.

For us it would be much harder to forget and forgive ourselves. Thank you, boy, for agreeing to stay here with us, despite everything. And forgive us, boy, for making you scared of us for so long.