Filipinos staying in Israel illegally to be given $5,000 grant to leave

·2 min read
Filipino children and their mothers carry a banner which reads in Hebrew
Filipino children and their mothers carry a banner which reads in Hebrew "release Filipina mother and her son" during a protest against deportation in Tel Aviv on August 6, 2019. - Hundreds of people demonstrated in Israel against the deportation of Filipino children born in Israel from migrant workers but without any legal status. (Photo: GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel is launching a “voluntary exit operation” for Filipino families and their children currently residing in the Middle East country illegally, its Population and Immigration Authority announced on Friday (July 1).

A similar policy will also be instituted for citizens from Eritrea and Sudan.

The program, in full cooperation with the Philippine government and the Philippine Embassy in Israel, is aimed at families with children to leave the Jewish state in exchange for a $5,000 grant, which would be spread over one year.

Families who wish to avail this will be able to contact a special center to help them out with the procedure.

A similar attempt was instituted a decade ago to expel Filipino citizens with their families, but it drew immense flak from the public and then ultimately failed.

“We are seriously working on another voluntary exit operation for nationals staying here, details of which will be released in the near future,” Timer Moskowitz, director of the population and Immigration Authority, said.

Official data shows that in 2020, almost 30,000 individuals are living in Israel as illegal immigrants, most of whom entered the country as tourists, Eritreans and Sudanese. Which is why, Moskowitz said that they’re working hard to bring these people back to their respective countries.

Meanwhile, in January 2018, a similar agreement was approved by the Israeli government to deport illegal immigrants to a third-party country, Rwanda, with a grant of $3,500, and its capital city Kigali was set to receive additional $5,000 per person. However, the plan did not happen after European pressure on the Rwandan president.

The two countries have had a working diplomatic relationship dating back to World War II, when then President of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon, welcomed almost 1,300 Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust through its “Open Door” policy.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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