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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightFlaws in the export of...

Flaws in the export of Indian workers to Israel

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The ongoing drive to recruit Indian workers to Israel is now a topic of debate. This is due to the insecure environment faced by the more than 5,000 workers who have already arrived in that country and are yet to leave due to the Israel-Iran conflict. Tel Aviv opened the way for a new war front by dropping bombs on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, the Syrian capital, and killing Iranian military leaders. In response to the attack, Iran launched a counter-attack the other day. Tehran had threatened to attack certain centers in the region if Israel went ahead with an attack. With the United States withdrawing its support for any Israeli retaliation on Iran, and Israel's statement that no immediate response to Iran's strikes were planned, the extremely serious situation has eased a little. However, India's travel ban to Israel continues. Many international airlines have suspended services. It is in such a situation that the moves to recruit thousands of Indian workers to Israel as per a bilateral agreement continue without even a temporary suspension. However, the travel of those who have paid part of the amount for the journey and booked the flight ticket has been suspended for the time being.

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Israel entered into an agreement with India not only as a country that can supply large numbers of workers to West Asia. The Netanyahu government sees India generally as a close ally of Israel. This political proximity may also have prompted the recruitment decision. Seasoned leaders have already objected to pushing the Indian workforce into a tense and uncertain area. Now that the Iran conflict has come to a head, it is natural that the opposition will intensify. The critics raised the question of national pride and dignity as to why India should become a scapegoat for Israel's cruel acts. This view is borne out of the fact that Indians' search for employment with higher income comes from the suffering of lakhs of people in Gaza who are struggling without getting a house, food, and job due to the humanitarian disaster caused by Israel's cruel actions. This will also amount to an indirect acceptance of Israel's massacre of nearly half a lakh of people. Secondly, the country's opposition parties and trade unions also raise the issue of sending workers to conflict zones without adequate protection.

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This recruitment is to fill the labor shortage caused by Israel canceling, together with the genocide in Gaza., the work permits of about 100,000 Palestinians who were allowed to work in Israel. Most of the labor-importing countries in West Asia, including the Gulf countries, fall under the ECR (Emigration Check Required) category, which requires emigration checks on passports of workers leaving for those countries, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs' list. However, Israel does not belong to that category. Therefore, these workers are not registered in the e-migrate portal. The workers mostly reach Israel after spending a good amount of money, including the charges of the recruiting agent, as well as the flight ticket and the fee paid to the National Skill Development Corporation. The journey of many who have paid this amount is now uncertain. Even though Israel is a signatory to the International Labor Organization (ILO) safety regulations, no less a person than the spokesperson of the Israeli Defense Ministry has said that there is not a place in Israel that is safe now. It is estimated that around 18,000 Indians of various categories are living in Israel. There had already been moves to send workers to Israel before the current conflict began. In April last year, when the Minister of Economic Affairs of Israel, Nir Barakat, visited India, he discussed a plan to hire Indians for various jobs in large numbers. Last December, in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Modi, Netanyahu also talked about expediting the delivery of Indian workers to Israel.

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In a recent interaction with the Hindu newspaper, K.N. Singh, formerIndian ambassador to Iran and the UAE wonderred how the Ministry of External Affairs could send so many workers to the same country at the same time when the country is issuing security warnings to its own citizens . He also expressed an opinion that is relevant that despite the public opinion of anger at current Israeli actions, sending Indians to work in a position that replaces Palestinians will serve to create anti-India sentiments in the Arab countries where about 80 lakh Indians work. The current government's over-zealous friendship towards Israel should not lead them to neglect the safety of citizens and the well-being of workers. The partisan politics of the government should not be an obstacle to taking serious note of the issues of labor welfare in Israeli recruitment raised by labor organizations and opposition parties.

Also read: US on high alert after Iran asks to ‘step aside’ as it plans to attack Israel

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TAGS:GazaMigrant WorkersEditorialIsrael-Hamas conflict
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