Amid concerns over Israel-Hamas war, 10,000 Indian construction workers to reach Tel Aviv next week – India TV

Amid concerns over Israel-Hamas war, 10,000 Indian construction workers to reach Tel Aviv next week – India TV


Skilled workers wait for their interview and skill test at a Haryana state government recruitment dr
Image Source : REUTERS Skilled workers wait for their interview and skill test at a Haryana state government recruitment drive to send workers to Israel, at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak

New Delhi: Amid concerns over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, a large number of the Indian workforce is set to move to Tel Aviv. With Israel’s construction sector suffering a severe manpower crisis post the October 7 conflict with Hamas, some 10,000 workers from India are to make their way here starting next week, industry sources said on Wednesday. These 10,000 workers will reach in batches of 700 to 1,000 a week, a source in the Israel’s Builders Association (IBA) told news agency PTI here.

With Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas in Gaza a little short of four months, and a ban on the entry of Palestinian workers and the departure of several thousand other foreign workers, the Israeli construction industry has been facing a deep crisis and several ongoing projects are getting either stalled or delayed. Following the conflict, Israel has banned the entry of Palestinian workers. With the departure of several thousand other foreign workers, the Israeli construction industry has been facing a deep crisis.

Israel increases foreign manpower for the construction industry 

Israeli business daily, The Calcalist, in a report in Hebrew last week, said that the quota of foreign manpower for the construction industry has been increased from 30,000 to 50,000 and that the Israeli government last month approved the arrival of 10,000 workers from India. The IBA source confirmed to PTI that the details in the Calcalist report were correct. When asked about the arrival of the first batch of workers, the source said, “We hope they’ll come next week.”

The workers to arrive in Israel would be part of the private recruitment track, which was approved by the government in parallel with the bilateral (inter-governmental) track to enable rapid recruitment of workers into the construction industry. The IBA is looking to hire workers also from other countries such as Mexico, Kenya and Malawi. Screening of workers is said to have begun three weeks ago in India, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan. “To date, out of about 8,000 workers examined, about 5,500 have been found suitable for work in Israel – the vast majority Indian,” The Calcalist had reported.

Why does Israel prefer Indian labourers?

“The Indian construction workers are at a high professional level. Many of them were previously employed in the Gulf countries, so these are skilled manpower. Most of them are fluent in English, and those who have worked in the Gulf also know Arabic, which is a great advantage,” an industry source was quoted by the Business Daily as saying. The selection process is led by IBA’s CEO Igal Slovik and Izchak Gurvitz, who heads the association’s division dealing with workers’ issues and the selection team.

Israel’s Ministry of Housing and Construction is currently said to be working on a proposal to increase by another 10,000 the hiring of workers through the private track. This will increase the total quota of foreign workers employed in the industry from 50,000 workers today to 60,000.

Why Indian labourers are moving to the war zone despite the risk?

Masons, painters, electricians, plumbers and some farmers said they were looking for jobs in Israel with some willing to risk going into a conflict zone because they could make five times more money in a year than they would at home. Some of the Indian men at the recruitment camp organised in Rohtak city told Reuters on Thursday (January 17) that they were aware of the ongoing conflict but were willing to travel and work in Israel for higher wages.

“If (war) is going on but what can one do? We have to work for our empty stomachs,” said Lekhram, a mason hailing from northwestern Rajasthan state. He was one among hundreds of masons who camped for days to submit the job application and demonstrate masonry skills to the recruiters.

“Everything is about money. If we get more money here (in our country or city), why would we go abroad and search for a job? Why would one ruin their two three days and go to another place for interviews?” another worker Vivek Sharma who hails from Haryana told the news agency.

 

PM Modi and Netanyahu held a conversation on workers 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in December had “discussed advancing the arrival of foreign workers from India to the State of Israel.” Israel’s Minister of Economy, Nir Barkat, during his trip to India in April last year, had spoken to officials and his counterpart in New Delhi about hiring Indians in various sectors, including the construction sector. The discussions then revolved around bringing in almost 1,60,000 people in various sectors. About 18,000 Indians are working in Israel, mostly as caregivers. Most of them decided to stay back in Israel and did not leave the country during the war because “they felt quite secure” and “also because the salaries are quite attractive”.

Israel and India also inked an agreement in May last year during the then Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s visit to New Delhi that will allow 42,000 Indian workers to work in the Jewish state in the fields of construction and nursing, a move that was then seen “to help deal with the rising cost of living and assist thousands of families waiting for nursing care”. A statement released by the Israeli Foreign Ministry then said that 34,000 workers would be engaged in the construction field and another 8,000 for nursing needs.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Israeli undercover forces dressed as women and medics storm West Bank hospital, kill 3 militants I VIDEO





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Author: Shirley