Indians Set to Replace Palestinian Workers From Gaza/West Bank in Israeli Jobs After October 7 Massacre

2024-04-01 04:00:50

Thousands of Indian nationals are set to replace Palestinian workforce, which fell out in the wake of the October 7 massacre.

“An influx of Indian workers is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming weeks as part of an effort to overcome a labor shortage due to the Israel-Hamas war,” the Jerusalem Post reported earlier this month, “Thousands of laborers are expected to work in the embattled construction sector, which relied almost exclusively on Palestinian workers before the war.”

The replacement of workforce from Gaza and the West Bank is matter of Israel’s national secutiry. Evidence suggests that Hamas misused Israel’s work permit program to carry out reconnaissance on bordering Jewish communities ahead of the attack. Several of the terrorists who entered Israel on October 7 were holders of work-permits and had intimate knowledge of the security measures in place.

Israel’s government-backed agency, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), conducted recruitment drives in several Indian states. Jerusalem is looking for skilled workers, such as plumbers, electricians and masons, along with agricultural and constructions workers.

“Thousands of Indians flocked to a recruitment center [located in northern India] … for jobs that would take them to Israel despite the … Israeli-Hamas war (…),” the Associated Press reported in late January, describing the scene as one such drive. “Many among the crowd of men, mostly skilled construction workers and laborers, said they would take their chances in a country embroiled in war as they are struggling to find jobs in India, where unemployment remains high despite a swelling economy.”

“The week-long recruitment drive began on Tuesday, with a 15-member Israeli team overseeing the process and expecting to fill over 5,000 positions for masons, carpenters and other construction workers in Israel,” the AP added.

Following October 7, Israel barred “entry to over 140,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank,” Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) noted in a recent report. In a bid to foster economic development in Hamas-controlled Gaza, Jerusalem had issued around 18,000 work-permits to Gazans.

This workforce may largely be replaced by Indian workers, news reports suggest. Neighbouring Sri Lanka, is also expected to send 20,000 workers to Israel, Reuters reported late November.

Modi government defies left-wing trade unions, takes credit for Israeli recruitment drive

India’s Marxist-led workers unions, which otherwise despise India’s Hindu Nationalist government, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘scrap’ any agreement to send Indians workers to Israel.

Left-wing unions “questioned the [New Delhi’s] proposed move to send about [one hundred thousand] Indian construction workers to Israel to replace Palestinian nationals working there,” Indian newspaper The Hindu reported November 11. “They alleged that the [Indian] government is playing a despicable role in supporting the Israeli plans to throw out Palestinian workers and retaliation for the Hamas attack is only an excuse.”

The appeal by the leftist unions will have little impact on the government’s decision. India’s largest trade union, with 10 million members, is a right-wing workers body aligned with Prime Minister Modi’s party.

In fact, Prime Minister Modi and his political allies appear to be taking credit for the Israeli recruitment drive.

The DC-based policy journal Diplomat noted in February that “banners at the recruitment sites carry pictures of the Prime Minister, along with those of local leaders, making it appear that this is employment that the Indian leadership has organised through its efforts.”

The left-leaning journal apparently accused India of “shoring up Israel’s economy and facilitating its economic exclusion of Palestinians.”


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Indians Set to Replace Palestinian Workers From Gaza/West Bank in Israeli Jobs After October 7 Massacre


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