The move is part of the bilateral agreement signed during Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s visit to India in early May. The plan is to recruit some 42,000 Indian foreign workers to Israel, 34,000 earmarked for construction and 8,000 in elder care.
Roughly 100,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza work in Israel, many working in the construction sector. But the growing hostile environment between the Arabs and the Jews and the spike in hate crimes against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank may have led to Israel looking for alternatives.
In 2021, hundreds of Palestinian workers were fired by Israeli employers for participating in a general strike, triggered by labour exploitations.
“We expect the agreements to be approved shortly, and we will soon be able to start setting up the necessary mechanisms to employ skilled labour in a proper and supervised manner,” a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Population and Immigration said.
The final agreement for labour is still being worked out between Israeli and Indian officials.
Israeli officials reportedly toured workplace training centres in India in March before the talks, MiddleEast Eye reported.
Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority described the Indian workers as “diligent, experienced” and “fluent in English”.
In January, India’s Adani Group acquired a 70 percent stake in the now privatised Haifa Port, for $1.2bn. The two are also part of US efforts to deepen security and economic cooperation with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.