Indian couple with minor children arrested in Israel

Ritu Sharma

Jerusalem, Nov 7 (PTI) An Indian couple with two minor children were on Thursday arrested by Israel's immigration authority, just ahead of their planned deportation from the country, according to a media report.

Inspectors of the country's Population and Immigration Authority broke into the home of Tina and Minin Lopez and arrested them along with their children- seven-year-old daughter Eliana and a one-year-old toddler, Ha'aretz Online reported.

The family was taken to the Beit Dagan detention facility in central Israel.

Sources at the Indian mission said that the family was taken to the hospital for medical check up and then presented in a court for hearing.

The court decided that the family would be deported to India after completing documentation.

The Indian mission is in touch with immigration authorities in Israel for completing the documents required for their deportation.

The family, except the younger child, had visited the Indian embassy in February 2018 for late birth registration of their elder child but did not complete the formalities.

The couple reportedly came to Israel from India to work as care givers 12 years ago. Eliana, who is a second-grader in a school in Tel Aviv, and her one-year-old sibling were both born in Israel.

The couple hails from Karnataka and were staying illegally in Israel without any valid visa for a long period and their Indian passports had also expired.

Attorney David Tadmor, who represents the family, said, 'the Immigration Authority, instead of adhering to instructions by the courts, continues its bullying actions.' 'This is a scandal. The Immigration Authority has not begun implementing the instructions of the Justice Ministry and the appellate court. It isn't authorized at all to arrest children, and isn't allowed to put out arrest warrants. We will contact the Attorney General and demand that he immediately rein in the authority,' Tadmor was quoted as saying in the report.

The arrest comes amidst a wide crackdown on migrant workers throughout Israel. The Immigration Authority came under fire in recent weeks for arresting two Filipino children who were born in Israel while they were preparing to go to school.

Gena Antigo, 13, and Ralph Harel, 10, were released earlier this week on a USD 8,510 bail each after an appeals court ruled that their arrests and the decision to deport them and their mothers were wrong, the news report said.

The court ruling is said to be also based on the fact that the Immigration Authority had violated a new Justice Ministry regulation, which determines that minors under the age of 12 should receive a hearing before a decision is made to deport them.

A large number of students, teachers and parents demonstrated outside the Givon Prison against the detention of Antigo and Harel.

As the new school year began, the director general of the Immigration Authority, Shlomo Mor Yosef, promised that children of migrants would not be stopped during the school day, on their way to school or on their way home.

However, the Authority said the arrests of the Indian children do not violate this promise, as it does not apply to the time frame prior to leaving for school, the report said. PTI HM RS RS