Catholic Church leaders in Israel have issued the following statement expressing their concern over Israeli government plans to deport Filipino mothers and children:
We, the heads of the Catholic Church in Israel, are deeply concerned about the recent decision of the immigration authority to deport Filipino mothers and their children. Even if the persons concerned are migrant workers who have lost their status and residence permit in Israel, it is impossible to ignore the particular circumstances of these women and their children who were born in Israel.
These Filipino women came here because the Israeli society needs them. Most of them work in essential functions and in difficult conditions: care of the elderly or of chronically ill patients, household help and cleaning, with long work hours. Their children were born here, are educated in Israeli schools; learn and play in Hebrew; they love the State of Israel and see their place and their future here.
Currently, foreign workers are forced to choose between continuing employment and the fulfillment of their right to maternity, as they are denied continuation of their status here after pregnancy and giving birth if they decide to keep their child in Israel; instead they are to be replaced by other migrant workers. Does this policy respect the contribution of these women's labour to the Israeli society? Does it not create excessive hardship both for the women and those who need them?
With respect to the children (who are relatively few in number) who were born here and feel a strong bond to Israel - and some of them do not even have the right to citizenship in their parents' countries - is it not possible to have mercy on them and to consider the possibility that under certain conditions they could continue to live their lives in the land in which they were born?
+ Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
+ Archbishop Yousef Matta, Greek Melkite Archbishop of Akka
+ Archbishop Moussa el-Hage, Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land
+ Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxilliary Bishop, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine
+ Fr Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+ Fr Hanna Kaldani, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel
+ Fr Rafic Nahra, Patriarchal Vicar for the Pastoral of migrants and asylum seekers in Israel
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