November 7, 2023
NEW DELHI – Israeli Builders Association has urged the government to allow companies to hire up to 100,000 Indian workers to replace almost equal number of Palestinians who have lost their work permits amid the ongoing war between Israeli military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, according to a report published by VOA News.
Haim Feiglin of Israeli Builders Association said that they are negotiating with India in this regard and currently waiting for a decision from the Israeli government to approve this.
“We hope to engage some 50,000 to 100,000 workers from India to work across the sector and bring it to normalcy,” he said.
According to the report, there are some 90,000 Palestinians who used to work in Israel before the war began. However, they are no longer allowed to work in Israel following the brutal October 7 attack by militants of Palestinian Islamic outfit Hamas.
This has led to a significant slowdown in Israel’s construction industry, which is reeling under a severe shortage of workforce.
Notably, India and Israel had signed an agreement in May early this year to allow 42,000 Indian workers to work in the Jewish state in the fields of construction and nursing. The move was expected to help Israel in dealing with the rising cost of living as Indian labourers are paid comparatively cheaper wages.
India has the world’s largest working population and tens of hundreds of Indian workers are already working in the Middle East. So far, it is not clear if a new deal will be signed or they will tweak the existing one since it only allows 42,000 workers for both construction and nursing sector.
As per the May 2023 deal that was signed by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar, 34,000 workers will be engaged in the construction field and another 8,000 for nursing needs.