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The Rights of Children of Immigrants in Israel

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

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Hundreds of thousands of children live in Israel who have immigrated here with their families, but not many of them know what the rights of children of immigrants are. Whether they are children of foreign workers or of asylum seekers, this ignorance often means they don’t receive the benefits they are due. This article explains what these rights are and the various ways to exercise them.

Our law firm in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv specializes in immigration to Israel and labor law. The lawyers at our firm regularly deal with issues such as status regulation in Israel, work visas for foreign workers, the rights of asylum seekers, and assistance in exercising the rights of children who have immigrated to Israel with their families.Rights of children of immigrants

The Rights of Children Are in Effect, Regardless of Their Parents’ Legal Status

Various rights of children of immigrants are often violated by state authorities, for different reasons. This occurs despite the fact that Israel has committed, on various occasions, to protect the rights of all children residing in the country, including in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many of the children’s rights discussed below are in effect regardless of the parents’ legal status in Israel. It is important that parents know their children’s rights and take action to exercise them.

Our firm works extensively in the field of immigration and has represented many asylum seekers and immigrant workers. Our firm’s website provides much information about the rights of asylum seekers and foreign workers, including on topics such as obtaining a work visa for foreign workers, obtaining asylum seeker status and legal employment, asylum seeker deposit, and arranging legal status for a foreign spouse requiring asylum. The current article focuses, as mentioned above, on the rights of children of asylum seekers.

The Right to Education

In Israel, the Compulsory Education Law applies to all children aged 3 and up. Accordingly, children of immigrants staying in Israel for more than 3 months are also entitled to free compulsory education. As already mentioned, this is an independent right, which does not depend on the legal status of the children’s parents. This right allows registration to kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

However, not all local authorities follow this law, for various reasons. In such cases, it is possible to require the authorities by law to accept the children into the local schools. If the authorities do not cooperate, you can go to court. In an important ruling at the Be’er Sheva court for administrative matters, it was stated that the Eilat Municipality’s refusal to provide children of asylum seekers with any type of education was unreasonable and disproportionate. Accordingly, the court ordered the municipality to have the children of the asylum seekers accepted to local schools.

Health and Welfare Rights

These rights are not currently fully regulated by the authorities. In general, the National Health Insurance Law applies only to residents of Israel. Accordingly, it does not apply to many children of asylum seekers or foreign workers. Similarly, access to welfare services, provided mainly by local authorities, is not always available to children of immigrants.

However, there are voluntary paid health insurance arrangements for asylum seekers, immigrant workers and, of course, their children. As for welfare services, in many cases these are provided only in extreme situations. For example, in cases that relate to the Youth Law, which deals with the care and supervision of minors, welfare officials may enter the picture. However, this law deals mainly with the treatment of teenagers who may be harmful to themselves or their environment, and does not apply at all to most cases involving children of immigrants in Israel.

Legal Assistance in Exercising the Rights of Children of Immigrants

As you can see, the legal situation regarding the rights of children of immigrants in Israel (in the areas mentioned above, as well as other areas) is not ideal. However, in cases of violation of rights or of the need to exercise rights, it is possible to take legal action against the various authorities and even go to court. If you have any questions or need assistance, you can contact a lawyer from our firm specializing in immigration to Israel and experienced in legal representation before the various authorities and courts in Israel. You can contact a lawyer from our firm using the phone numbers or e-mail address listed below.

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