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Israel to recruit thousands of construction workers from India

New Delhi: With at least two states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party keen to send workers to Israel, a delegation of builders from the West Asian Jewish nation will soon start recruiting thousands of people from India to replace Palestinians to work in the construction projects.

The Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam set up by the state government on December 15 last issued an advertisement seeking applications to fill up 3,000 vacancies for workers in the construction sector in Israel.

The Government of Uttarakhand is also considering a proposal to send workers from the state to Israel.

With the work permits of a large number of Palestinians being revoked in the wake of the Hamas-Israel conflict, the construction industry in the Jewish State is looking for workers from India and other countries to fill the vacancies.

The issue was discussed when the prime ministers of Israel and India, Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu, had a phone call on Tuesday.

Netanyahu’s office claimed in a statement that he and Modi discussed “advancing the arrival of foreign workers from India to the State of Israel”.

“We will start the process in Delhi and Chennai next week on December 27. At the moment, we are looking to bring in 10,000 as per government approvals and this will scale up to 30,000 in the near future depending on how it goes. It is an ongoing exercise and will take months,” Deputy Director General and Spokesperson for the Israel Builders Association (IBA), Shay Pauzner, was quoted by PTI in a report from Jerusalem. “The selection starting next week will last 10-15 days.”

An official of the Israeli Builders Association was recently quoted in a report by Voice of America (VoA) stating that the organisation had asked Netanyahu’s government to discuss with New Delhi and speed up the arrival of at least 1,00,000 workers from India to Israel to replace the Palestinians in the construction sector. The move followed the October 7 attacks by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel and the retaliatory offensive by Israel in Gaza over the past two-and-a-half months.

A few days before Modi and Netanyahu spoke over the phone, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, told Rajya Sabha on December 14 that the Government of India had not held any discussions with Israel regarding the possible replacement of Palestinian workers with Indians.

(Published 20 December 2023, 12:35 IST)

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