Hagada Hasmalit

a critical review of israeli culture and society

Posted by רני On September - 2 - 2009 0 Comment

Protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv recently to demonstrate against Israel’s “revolving door policy” on migrant workers.

The march, organized by Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – Communist Party of Israel) Tel Aviv, drew hundred of activists who held banners, and red flags, and handed out flyers in front of the offices of some of the country’s largest employment agencies on Rothschild Boulevard. “Foreign workers are not slaves!” yelled the protesters.
“The employment agencies are the ones that benefit from the government’s revolving door policy,” said event organizer Noa Levy. “Despite the fact that the law limits them to collecting NIS 3,500 from workers for service fees, these companies charge between $6,000 and $25,000 from every worker they bring in to the country, and rake in 75% of the fee.”
Levy added that “most of the workers who are illegal lose their status because of the Immigration Authority’s policies. People lose their legal status because they quit their jobs, are fired, get pregnant or get married”.
“The government claims that it is deporting illegal migrants because it wants to free up jobs for Israelis, but at the same time issues thousands of visas for new workers from across the sea,” Levy went on. “We demand that the government regulate its policies by forming bilateral agreements with other countries, so that the workers don’t have to go through the agencies.”
“This is an issue that has only started receiving attention in the last couple of weeks,” said Levy. “But now, after we’ve seen that public pressure can influence decision-makers, we are determined to get the message out there.”
Levy was referring to the government’s reversal of two controversial decisions, one on the deportation of children of foreign workers who were born in Israel, and the other on the limitation on asylum-seekers to dwell within set geographic boundaries.
“We came out to show solidarity with the foreign workers,” said Alon-Lee Green, a leading member the Young Communist League (Banki-Shabiba). “We think the government’s policy is ridiculous, racist and dangerous. They’re turning the workers into scapegoats of the capitalist crisis.”
More than 20,000 people are expected to be deported by the end of the year as part of a government policy to have all migrant workers out of the country by 2013. In 2005 the government expelled 145,000 migrant workers in a campaign similar to the one taking place this summer.

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