For Palestinian Children Begging in Israel, a Life of Violence and Exploitation

Noah Shpigel - Haaretz

This article from Haaretz discusses the increasing problem of child labor in Israel.  According to the article, children are taken from their homes through an agreement with their parents and forced to beg at highway intersections for up to 12 hours a day.  The children generally work for close to pennies a day.

According to the article, children have been known to stay in Israel for as long as a month.  Oftentimes they have nowhere to live, and they sleep in highway ditches or sneak into the mosque when they can manage it.  The financial situations of these children vary.  Some are very poor, and some are from successful families where begging is treated like a business.  The poorest are most vulnerable.  These children face risks from violence, drugs, and highway hazards.

The police have invested efforts into prosecuting the parents when they are able.  The challenge with this option is convincing the children to turn in their parents.  Several groups are working on rescuing the children from this sort of life; however, children who are returned home often end up back on the highways hours later.

The article discusses how both Israel and Palestinian Authority need to take responsibility for helping families whose only option is to send children to highway intersections to beg.  Many families see this as their only means of support.