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The Other Israelis
Posted on Aug 7, 2011
Needing the money and choosing not to live illegally, Aradhane simply referred to her choice as “the best solution.”
Lachmanovitch said he didn’t know whether Aradhane could bring her daughter back to Israel due to the ruling, citing his lack of training as a lawyer. He also couldn’t say whether the ruling would be applied retroactively.
“She can ask the Population Authority and they could give her the information,” Lachmanovitch said.
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“Especially as a society that knows exactly how it is to be a foreigner, it’s really shameful,” said Zadok Zemach, 43. “This country, after all we have been through, after all those years. I believe that these [migrant workers] are important to Israel.”
Zemach inadvertently struck at the fundamental difference between the waves of Jewish immigrants to Israel and the others, the ones who clean floors, take care of the elderly and build new homes.
“They’re not Jewish. That’s it,” said Lebovitch. “If they live here, they might even marry a Jew, and their children will not be Jewish which is like the worst thing that can happen in Israel.”
Late one Monday night in March, the lights in Kav LaOved were on late into the evening as migrant caregivers came to seek assistance for work visa, wage and workplace abuse issues.
Squeezing in interviews between counseling appointments with caregivers, the staff was working frantically to weave a makeshift safety net for these embattled workers.
“We are in a war,” said Shaked as a group of Chinese construction workers shuffled into her small office. “There is such a huge gap between the religious people and the secular people in Israel. The religious people are becoming more and more strong and opinionated.”
The religious people, like Yishai, who controls the Ministry of Interior, “have no tolerance whatsoever for migrant workers,” Shaked said. “I am afraid.”
Just down the hall, Lebovitch echoed Shaked’s sentiment.
“I’m not that optimistic,” she said. “I’m just hoping that it doesn’t get any worse.”
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