As Israel Deports Asylum Seekers, It Imports Thousands of Foreign Workers

Cabinet approves boosting ceiling for foreign workers in construction industry by 6,000 from current 16,500

T. Belman. I am not at all concerned with the possibility that foreign workers won’t leave. In fact I hope they don’t at least until they retire. That’s not to say that I think they should form families here. I don’t. Laws must be passed that require them to leave. We will always need construction workers and they will never become citizens. Israel must have an alternative to Arab workers so that we are not vulnerable to political action they might take. If the Arab workers present as little problems to us as do the foreign workers, they are welcome too.

As Israel Deports Asylum Seekers, It Imports Thousands of Foreign Workers
Cabinet approves boosting ceiling for foreign workers in construction industry by 6,000 from current 16,500

By Hagai Amit, HAARETZ

A Chinese construction worker in Tel Aviv
A Chinese construction worker in Tel AvivTomer Appelbaum

Israel approved on Sunday boosting the ceiling for foreign workers in the construction industry by 6,000 from the current 16,500. The extra quota is specifically for workers employed by the foreign contractors now permitted to operate in Israel to help ease the housing shortage, while the first 16,500 are free to work wherever they please.

On Sunday, Israel began issuing deportation notices to asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan who are not held in the Holot detention facility.

The government also rescinded a rule that forbade companies bidding on government and other public sector construction contracts to employ foreign workers. The rule was introduced in 2001, as Israel was in the midst of an economic crisis; the unemployment rate had risen to over 10% while at the same time the number of foreign workers in Israel had reached a record 250,000, most of them in the country illegally.

Sixteen year later — with the jobless rate at a record low and fewer Israelis than ever interested in construction trades — the government finally canceled the law.

Also on Sunday, the cabinet approved a measure to authorize foreign construction workers to work on infrastructure projects, as well as Palestinian building workers working in Israel.

Nevertheless, the Bank of Israel and Kahlon’s own budget division oppose increasing the quota of foreign workers because it will deprive people in Israel’s lowest income groups of the opportunity to find jobs in construction, especially when the job market turns softer, as it inevitably will.

In addition, they argue that guest workers get paid less and bring overall wages in the building sector down.

Moreover, they contend that it won’t be easy to send foreign workers home when they are no longer needed. While the Finance Ministry contends that the Chinese workers being brought to Israel now won’t remain in a country where they aren’t welcome, historical experience shows that a large segment of any group of foreign workers ends up remaining in the country where they were employed.

Many officials on Sunday expressed concern that employers simply prefer more disciplined foreign workers over Israelis, especially as it is easier to ignore their labor rights.

February 5, 2018 | 16 Comments »

Leave a Reply

16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. @ Bear Klein:

    Yes true. I was having a large house built then, and the Jewish Contractor used Arab labour. The house was never finished, all the building materials were stolen a bit at a time even with, eventually a night watchman..a JEW… (in collusion with the Arab labourers) and although I was in Israel about 13-14 years, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I lost over a quarter of a million dollars there, a lot of money then….and now.

  2. @ Edgar G.:
    Even in the 1970s when the Kibbutzim had new housing built they were built via construction contractors using almost exclusive Arab Labor from the West Bank or Gaza even in those days. Romantic visions of 80 to 100 years ago are nice but ???????

  3. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Well the YISHUV was built up by the sweat, mnual labour and blood of the original chalutzim. Jews are no strangers to hard manual work. I recall well a booklet of stories colected by someone I can’t recall, but there were about 20 stories about , say, former professors of philosophy abroad, now driving a tractor and mucking out cow barns etc. etc. And as I’ve mentioned on these pages a couple of times I remember stories about young Pioneers growing up with local Arabs in and out of each others’ homes since childhood, boys and girls, working side by side, and then one day, the Jewish girl is found dismembered, her tender parts stuffed in her mouth, her entrails everywhere, nd her Arab childhhod friend, weith whom she was working at the crops, vanished…..

  4. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    As for being a history Major, would you not be applying yourself to a specific period or else the science of history in general. Were you specifically a Napoleonic Period student…? Don’t answer….. it was a rhetorical remark, I don’t want to know It doesn’t matter to me; that discussion is long over.

    My sole parting comment is… that I confess I’ve learned something I hadn’t previously known about Napoleon. I was completely unaware that he, who admittedly stuck his nose into almost everything, was interested in Labour Studies as purveyed by a University.,

  5. @ Edgar G.:
    You asked in the conversation about Napoleon. This is the first you are chiming in here. Construction and manual work do not need to be done by foreign workers unless employers want to exploit their workers. Nothing does. That’s a rationalization and a myth. Highly paid work will always be sought after. And all work should be highly paid. Let capitalists make less profit or get it through more volume in customers who now have more money. I could care less. My sympathies remain with the workers. I mentioned that wages have gone up in the US as a result of fewer immigrants coming in under Trump. Excellent. This is what the labor movement used to advocate. Even Sanders.

  6. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    I didn’t ask….did I…??? What I was writing was in response to what actually was in the article, so I don’t see that the comments on my post are in any way responsive. Comment on what’s in the article like I did. The Govt is not meaning bringing in foreign workers to push someone’s wheel chair around, but construction and other manual work. Inevitably some of those brought in will graduate to better jobs, perhaps in a supervisory capacity. Who knows what’ll happen.There hasn’t been a carried out decision to build thousands of homes in YESHA before so it’s really new ground breaking for us.

    And damned well many years past due.,

  7. @ david melech:
    Nobody objects to work that pays well with pension and benefits. People who come from countries where the dollar, or in this case the shekel, will go much further, come for a few years, living in barracks like conditions, sending money home so their families can become middle class. But, it takes bread out of the mouths of workers who live here or In Israel permanently.

    And since Edgar G. asked, my concentration as a History Major was U.S. History with a minor specialization in Labor Studies under Irwin Yellowitz.

  8. Edgar G. Said:

    And, if they stay in Israel until retirement age, or for 20 years of continuous employment, how can they be repatriated. They will be more Israel acclimatised than their own home states. And of the wifes, many will inevitably be Israeli, and what about the children, who will outnumber the workers themselves.

    they do not have unlimited time to stay, work visas have to be renewed every period of time. imagine you pushing some old geezer around in his wheel chair? helping him/her in and out of bed, changing their adult nappy, the foreign workers (last 2 words copied and pasted), do not bring their families to ISRAEL, go to the banks, exchange booths, any sunday morning and see millions of dosh being sent home. one thing is in ISRAEL their allowed a fair (fare) wage and days off, not kept as slaves as in other countries in the area. many ISRAELIS on breadline incomes will not travel by bus only by taxi, imagine that person washing your floors, won’t happen. the arab workers send their earnings to mother mosq down the street. and they are the ones who stay. marry an arab ISRAELI citizen then claim the right to stay and citizenship as family.

  9. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    history shows whitey objects to certain work. in the 50’s- 60’s u k allowed numerous non whites in from commonwealth countries who worked as mail men, bus drivers, bus conductors, underground train employees jobs that unemployed brits looked down on. as these were commonwealth citizens their families also had free entry. will JEWS do manual dirty hands work? doubt it.

  10. Firstly….”If Arab workers present as little problems as foreign workers they are welcome here”. Sounds like “Famous Last Words…”. No matter how little trouble Arab workers present no once can ever be certain they will not, if the opportunity arises, take full advantage to riot and run amuk.

    I always have in my mind the poor young Israel contractor who was standing on top of a high building with a couple of his workmen and needed to lower himself over the side. He fell to his death, and it was found that his safety rope was cut, with nobody admitting to even noticing it. There was never any arrest, or conviction for this certainly terrorist motivated murder.

    I m not in favour of even foreign workers, because, as the article rightly says, it takes awy the opportunity of employment from lower income Israelis. And, if they stay in Israel until retirement age, or for 20 years of continuous employment, how can they be repatriated. They will be more Israel acclimatised than their own home states. And of the wifes, many will inevitably be Israeli, and what about the children, who will outnumber the workers themselves. That’s a lrge amount of people to get to leave what has become their home.

    No, not a good idea.