Shalom Life | July 31, 2014

Filipino Caregiver is the Frontrunner to Win X-Factor: Israel [VIDEO]

Rose Fostanes is capturing hearts and votes across Israel with her soulful voice

By: Zak Edwards

Published: January 9th, 2014 in News » Israel

Filipino Caregiver is the Frontrunner to Win X-Factor: Israel [VIDEO]

When Rose Fostanes left her home in the Philippines 25 years ago, I doubt she expected to take center stage on an Israeli talent reality show.

But now, the 47-year-old caregiver is one of four finalists on X-Factor: Israel.

Fostanes has risen to prominence on the show but is also giving a face to Israel’s thousands of migrant workers who work in the domestic service industry, reports Time World. Like many other “Filipini,” a term that has become synonymous with “caregiver” in Israel, Fostanes was living in a crowded apartment, sending what little money she earns back home to her family and girlfriend.

Fostanes spends her time caring for an ailing women in her 50s, and saves money by sharing an apartment with seven others in a crowded south Tel Aviv apartment.

Now, her name is shouted by adoring fans as she walks down the street.

Winning the adoration of the judges with her soulful renditions of Lady Gaga’s “You and I” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” Fostanes has been taking under the wing of Israeli singer and judge Shiri Maimon. “It was so moving. I am so proud of you. We will have an amazing journey together,” Maimon said to the Filipino singer, “I’m speechless.”

But Maimon isn’t the only one blown away by the surprise leading contestant, Fostanes has gained plenty of supporters in Israel and back home. “Filipinos around the world have heard about her and frequently send her text messages of support”, says The Times of Israel, “But her success has been tempered by the distance from her loved ones. She last visited the Philippines two years ago.”

"Really I miss them, my family especially, and of course my girlfriend because this is the time I really need them beside me," said a tearful Fostanes. "I need their support not only because they are in the Philippines, I want them to be by my side."

Israel has an estimated 40,000 Filipino workers whose lives are very close to Fostanes, working long hours for low pay that keeps them from visiting home and only enjoying “relative freedom” as long as they have a work permit. For Fostanes, her recent success is giving her hope for her lifelong dream of becoming a singer.

Discriminated against for her appearance, she is now asking her fans to support her all the way to the end, and she is the frontrunner according to both insiders and blogs worldwide.

“I really need this badly,” she said in an interview earlier in the show, “Through this, maybe my life can change.”
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