“We are here to support Israel and to pray for the Israelis and for the IDF soldiers who are risking their lives.”
Dozens of foreign laborers from the Philippines on Saturday night conducted a prayer vigil in Tel Aviv’s Central bus station, an area where many migrants, legal and illegal, find cheap housing, Ynet reported. The prayer vigil was spontaneous, and participants raised the flags of their home countries and stressed the fact that “they, too, feel at risk.”
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According to an announcement made by the community of migrant workers, the vigil was held “following the crisis in Israel and the rise in antisemitic incidents around the world. The only thing we can do is to offer our prayer to Israel, its leaders, the IDF, the people and the children.”
“We are here to support Israel and to pray for the Israelis and for the IDF soldiers who are risking their lives, ” said one of the organizers, Jeffery Olian, a foreign worker from the Philippines.
“Some children born to our community have enlisted in the IDF, and we are grateful to the Iron Dome and the soldiers fighting in our behalf, ” Olian added. “We wish to deliver a message to Muslims living in the Philippines and are demonstrating against Israel: “Some Philippine nationals support Israel.”
Another foreign worker, who went by the name James, emphasized the fact that members of the migrant community are worried about the security situation. “Like all the Israelis who live here, we, too, live under stress and anxiety, and feeling part of the nation of Israel. All of us are experiencing hard days and we hope the war will be over soon and peace will come.”
James said that “Filipinos who came here to work are familiar with this tension already, and continue to make a living despite the situation.”
According to Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, there are close to 75, 000 legal foreign workers living in Israel. In addition there are 15, 000 illegal foreign workers. There are also 53, 000 asylum seekers who entered the country illegally from Egypt, and 93, 000 tourists who stay in the country with expired visas.
In 2013, employers of illegal foreign workers paid fines to the tune of about $4 million.