It is very important to set the record straight as to why Israel is about the deport thousands ofmigrant workers who have flooded the Jewish state of late
Israel’s Jewish and Arab workers now compete with a migrant worker population from African countries who are enticed by contractors to work in quasi-slave-like conditions, below minimum wage, with no social or medical benefits
Indeed, these migrant workers are easy prey for easy profits.
And as of this Israel Independence Day, the migrant worker population has reached 163,615 people, a figure which includes the children of the migrant workers.
Across the globe, civil liberties organizations and their allies in the media fight to put an end to the phenomenon of the exploitation of migrant workers who are paid dirt wages with no benefits.
Indeed, a CBS documentary that aired when I was a boy, fifty years ago, HARVEST OF SHAME, did wonders to shake the conscience of people throughout the United States to the horrific working conditions for migrant workers in American agriculture.
Yet in Israel today, civil liberties organizations and their allies in the media fight for migrant workers to remain in horrific conditions in Israel.
The only worry of Israel’s civil liberties organizations is that the migrant workers should not be deported back to their home countries.
For workers to live in quasi slave like conditions seems highly inappropriate to the spirit of social justice in Israel.
What Israel’s civil liberties organizations and their allies in the media have also overlooked is that the contractors who exploit the migrant workers have also hurt working person in Israel who would like to make an honest living,
When my younger son finished his Israeli army service three years ago, he was ready to take any working job, so long as he would earn something, before he decided where he would go for advanced studies.
He went from work place to work place, shocked that the wages offered were below the minimum wage, with no social or medical benefits.
What he heard from contractor after contractor was that they have “adjusted” their pay scale to “accommodate” cheap migrant workers, who seemingly can live below the minimum wage, with no social or medical benefits.
One contractor actually offered my son a wage of 17 shekels an hour, ten hours a day, 25% below minimum wage, with no social or medical benefits, as required by law.
A migrant worker indeed took the job instead.
When our family vacationed for a few days in Eilat, we were surprised to hear that more than 8,000 migrant workers now dominate Elat hotels, throwing Israeli Jews and Arabs out of work.
On one evening in Eilat, a taxi driver took us to see a makeshift village for the migrant workers that was acquired by the migrant worker contractors, where hundreds of migrant workers and their families lived in crowded conditions.
While we were there, we witnessed migrant workers listening to a course on Israeli civics.
An American Jewish group had hired social workers to teach the migrant workers about how to become Israeli citizens.
And if the migrant worker population continues to expand – and there is every reason that we can expect that it will grow – the migrant workers might form a political party which will eventually assume ascendancy in Eilat, whose total population is only 49,000.
This has geopolitical implications, since the Egyptian Parliament, five years ago, declared that Elat is an Egyptian city, which must be returned to Egypt. A Sudanese mayor of Elat may be amenable to such a proposal.
What about law enforcement in Elat?
Why does the Israeli government not simply dispatch ship to its southern port city and transport the migrant workers back to their nations of origin?
Paying a visit to the Elat municipality, workers in the Elat Mayor’s office said that the Israel Ministry of Justice had decided not to enforce the law in Elat, and that they were playing hands off the situation of the migrant workers in Elat.
Our news agency dispatched a letter to the Israel Minister of Justice asking why that was.
The office of the Israel Minister of Justice responded that he received the letter, with no response to the question about the lack of law enforcement over migrant workers in Elat.
So there you have it.
Until now, the Israeli government simply ignored its own laws and allowed thousands of illegal migrant workers to establish a foothold in Israel.
Contractors of the migrant workers played it smart, hiring PR firms to ho issue daily releases to the media which charge that if the Israeli government will enforce the law against migrant workers, this will represent an act of racism and discrimination.
These contractors also contributed to the civil liberties groups who have been advocating for the cheap migrant workers to remain in Israel, allowing migrant workers with no legal status in Israel unfairly compete with Jewish and Arab workers in the Israeli labor market,
Well connected Israeli contractors wielded tremendous influence on the Israeli government to not enforce the law against migrant workers – until now..
And when the law is not being enforced, people take the law into their own hands.
Hence, the violence in Israel or late against the migrant workers.