Report: Israel is arresting undocumented children

Students from several local high schools protested at the prison in Ramla where 13-year-old Gena Antigo was being held, October 31st, 2019. (photo: Daniel Levy)
Israel arrests Palestinian kids in the middle of the night with impunity so now they are doing the same to undocumented children.

By Taly Krupkin | Jewish Currents |  Jan 17, 2020

‘Israel does not see itself as an immigrant country that is open to immigrants of all nations, but the national homeland of the Jewish people, and as such, it opens its gates to Jews,’
— governmental report on foreign workers in Israel

On October 30th, 2019, Gena Antigo, a 13-year-old, Israeli-born Filipina girl, woke to news that the immigration police were in her apartment in Tel Aviv. “My mom told me, ‘Wake up, Gena, the police are here,’” she recalls. “I thought it was just a nightmare. When I realized it was reality, I started to cry.”

Gena and her mother, an undocumented foreign worker from the Philippines, were given less than ten minutes to collect what they wanted to bring with them, while the police urged them to hurry up. “I took my clothes and a blanket,” Gena says, “in case I got cold.”

The police escorted Gena, her mother, and a neighbor they had also arrested to a van. “The senior officer told me it’s hard for him to see me cry,” Gena says. “He asked if he could do something to make me stop, because he has kids, and it hurt him to see me cry.”

Gena would spend the next three days in a prison intended for adults.

Gena is a victim of a new, draconian Israeli policy, quietly implemented over the past year, in which the children of undocumented foreign workers are arrested and detained along with their parents. So far, 22 children—most of them born in Israel—have been similarly arrested and imprisoned, with the latest arrest, of a 10-year-old girl, taking place on January 7th of this year.

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