JERUSALEM (AFP) – A 47-year-old Filipina caregiver who won Israel’s X-Factor talent show has been granted permission to earn a living as a singer in the Jewish state, officials said on Monday.
Rose Fostanes, the only foreign contestant on the show, moved to Israel six years ago, obtaining a visa to work as a caregiver for the sick and elderly.
Her success, which saw her winning last week’s final with a soaring rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” sparked celebrations across the Philippines and praise from its President Benigno Aquino.
But Israeli immigration officials said her visa did not allow her to work professionally as a singer.
However, on Monday, Interior Minister Gideon Saar issued a statement saying he had decided to allow Fostanes to work as an artist.
The minister “ordered the population and immigration authority to grant Rose Fostanes permission to work as a singer in Israel,” it said.
“Minister Saar decided to agree to her request and allow her a work permit as an artist,” it said, noting such permission was subject to the agreement of the family she had been working for.
Fostanes has been likened by fans to Susan Boyle, the middle-aged Scottish singer whose humble looks and shy demeanor belied a scintillating voice that captivated millions on the television talent show “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009.
Fostanes currently lives in a crowded apartment in southern Tel Aviv, an area inhabited mostly by foreign workers, and has been saving money to support her family and girlfriend back home, press reports said.