Israel deportation drive arrests 2 Filipino immigrants, 3 children

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2019   •   1817

ISRAEL – Two Filipino women were arrested on Tuesday (July 23) along with their Israeli-born children during a crackdown by Israel authorities against foreign workers violating immigration laws.

Witnessing the raid, Meretz party chairman Nitzan Horowitz live-tweeted the turn of events and showed the victims crying at the hallway as authorities broke into their house in Ramat Gan, in Tel Aviv District.

Horowitz identified the victims as Geraldine Esta, her two children (age 6 and 10) and another Filipina with a baby.

“These children were born here and their only ‘crime’ was that they were born to a mother from the Philippines,” Horowitz wrote as translated by an Israeli online newspaper Haaretz.com.

“Now the police are packing up their few possessions, and outside a few of their friends are standing and crying,” he added.

According to Haaretz.com, Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority is laying out plans to deport about 100 Filipino workers, along with their children who were born in Israel.

“Here is such a cruel thing,” Horowitz continued in his tweet.

“They put the children, in total hysteria, into this sealed car, on the way to a detention cell. You can hear the crying and screaming inside. This is what you should do to criminals, not little children. There is no reason in the world to behave like this. It is much more than a shame and disgrace — it is abuse and it must stop,” he added.

Since last month, protests have been escalating against the Israeli government’s planned deportation of overstaying foreign workers including their Israel-born children.

According to The Times of Israel, there are approximately 30,000 foreign workers from the Philippines in the Middle Eastern country, both legally and illegally, generally employed in the home health care sector caring for the country’s elderly people.

In an advisory for overstaying Filipinos published on July 18, 2019, the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel said: “Filipino citizens who are illegally residing/overstaying in Israel and who wish to return to the Philippines voluntarily may be able to avail of the government’s reintegration program.”

The advisory also said that “it is working closely with the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) of Israel for the humane and orderly repatriation of overstaying Filipinos who wish to return to the Philippines.”

It added that no overstaying Filipino in Israel will be arrested when visiting the Embassy.

The DFA nor the Philippine Embassy in Israel has yet to issue a statement regarding the arrest of the two Filipinos.

Like Pac-Man, innovative Israeli coronavirus mask gobbles food

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

Israeli inventors have developed a coronavirus mask that allows diners to eat food without taking it off, a device that could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.

A squeeze of a lever, much like a cyclist operates a handbrake, opens a slot in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.

The process could get messy with ice cream or sauces, but more solid morsels can be gobbled up in a flash in the style of Pac-Man in the iconic video game.

“The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask,” said Asaf Gitelis, vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions, who demonstrated the device at its offices near Tel Aviv.

“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”

The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at a 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) premium above the price of the simple pale blue medical masks many Israelis wear.

Outside a juice bar in Tel Aviv, Reuters showed a cellphone video of the mask in action. Opinion was divided.

“I think this mask that enables me to eat while I’m still wearing it, it’s a must have,” said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.

But maskless and eating an ice cream cone, Ron Silberstein, a 29-year-old musician, said: “I don’t think this mask could hold this kind of ice cream – it’s dripping all over. I wouldn’t want to wear it afterward”.

Israel has largely reopened its economy after a dramatic drop in cases of the novel coronavirus. But restaurants are open only for takeout for the time being. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berlzon, Rami Amichai, Rinat Harash, Jeffrey Heller)

Israel’s Supreme Court clears Netanyahu to form government despite corruption charges

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020

Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz signing an agreement to form an emergency coalition government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel’s top court said late on Wednesday (May 6), paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power.

In its ruling against opposition petitioners, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

The ruling removes a critical legal hurdle to the coalition government the right-wing Netanyahu and centrist Gantz plan to swear in next week, following three inconclusive elections in the past year.

It also moves the country closer to ending its political deadlock as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Netanyahu was indicted in January on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing in all three cases. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berklzon, Rami Amichay, Lee Marzel)

Israeli firm treats COVID-19 patient using placenta therapy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2020

An Israeli regenerative medicine company that is developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products has announced that they were able to treat their first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in New Jersey, USA under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also known as a compassionate use program.

In a statement, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. said the treatment is “part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

Pluristem said the patient was administered a treatment called Placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy.

The company added that the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prior to the PLX treatment.

The patient was also under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said they are now focusing on the initiation of a multinational clinical study.

“In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries,” he said. AAC

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