It's big news in Israel that "Strangers No More," a documentary about a Tel Aviv school for children of migrant workers, won an Oscar - proof, declared its director, that "through education, understanding, and tolerance, peace really is possible.” Except that on Sunday, after a year-long, pain-filled battle, Israel will begin deporting many of those kids, including the film's three stars, and their families. For now, a holding cell, complete with Pooh and Spongebob pictures, awaits them. Critics call the move "un-Jewish" and "inhumane"; we add, tragic for all concerned, including those of us who continue to wonder how low Israel can go.
"It's the same country that just announced completion of the jail where children will be locked up before being deported to a country they have never known," said Rotem Ilan, founder of the advocacy group Israeli Children. "With all due respect, pictures of Spongebob Squarepants and Pooh-Bear on the walls don't change a thing. A jail is still a jail."