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foreign workers

  • Home Field - Visiting agricultural workers in Israel, part 5

    In a series of posts based on field visits and meetings with migrant workers in Israel, Noa Shauer and Shiraz Grinbaum highlight the conditions, hardships and exploitation of foreign workers. In part 5, they met with agricultural workers in the northern Israeli moshavim of Sdei Trumot and Revayah, trying to re-evaluate their working conditions after a strike. Text by: Omri Paz/Kav LaOved, Photos: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org, read part 4, part 3, part 2, and part 1 In February, we paid a visit to the moshav (agricultural settlement) of Sdei Trumot in order to meet with the workers who were being maltreated by…

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  • Home Field: Visiting agriculture workers in Israel, part 2

    In a series of posts based on field visits and meetings with migrant workers in Israel, Noa Shauer and Shiraz Grinbaum highlight the conditions, hardships and exploitation of foreign workers. In part 2, a Thai worker and labor organizer at Moshav Sde Nitzan is deported for organizing a strike over working conditions. Read part 1 here Text: Noa Shuar Photos: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org Moshav Sde Nitzan is located in the northwestern Negev, a part of the Eshkol Local Authority. The moshav, a farming community, is made up of some 80 families, as well as 157 foreign workers from Thailand who work in…

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  • Home Field: Visiting agricultural workers in Israel, part 1

    In a series of posts based on field visits and meetings with migrant workers in Israel, Noa Shauer and Shiraz Grinbaum highlight the conditions, hardships and exploitation of foreign workers. In part 1, Thai agricultural workers in Kfar Varburg show 'Kav Laoved - Workers' Hotline' their sub-standard living conditions and tell of their exploitative wages and working conditions. Text by Noa Shauer All Photos: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org We went to Kfar Varburg late last month after Kav Laoved - Worker's Hotline received a complaint regarding substandard accommodations and withholding of minimum wage payments. We met a group of Thai workers at…

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  • Foreign workers take exploitative employers to court

    Many in Israel view the agriculture industry as moral and ethical one - one that symbolizes the infrastructure upon which the country was built. However, the reality portrays a much less attentive and heroic attitude toward foreign workers. By Noa Shauer (translated by Allison Rudy) Kav LaOved - Worker's Hotline has recently received various complaints from employers of lawsuits from lawyers representing Thai workers in Israel and abroad. According to an article published on MyNet [Hebrew], the kibbutzim have already nicknamed the phenomenon "the Thai sting." According to the article, among the various positions on kibbutzim, this one remains "the most legal…

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  • An open letter to the incoming interior minister

    Dear Honorable Minister, Following coalition negotiations, free of Natan Eshel and other evils, you will be sworn in as Israel's interior minister. Having seen the hardships faced by a number of Israel's interior ministers, let us give you three recommendations to ensure that your tenure is pleasant: 1. Don't let lawyers shape policy for you. As we are afflicted with the severe defect of legal thought and reasoning, let us assure you that the lawyers around you will always try to take the reigns to determine policy and dictate your conduct, under the guise of legal advice (sometimes in the…

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  • Media misconceptions: Is the conflict really about Jews vs. Arabs?

    In the second post of my three-part series about media and publishing, I examine some misconceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian 'conflict,' and the ways in which the media feeds into a binary that leaves non-Jews and non-Palestinians out of the spotlight. When my agent and I shopped my book about Israel’s migrant workers and African refugees around, we got a lot of those “We love it but it’s not right for us” and “This is an important book that needs to be published. But there’s no audience for this” kind of responses. But perhaps the most common response was, “Where are…

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  • Thousands of new work permits for Palestinians only serve the status quo

    Israeli officials will authorize 5,000 new work permits for Palestinian laborers. The move comes in the wake of the West Bank protests against the Palestinian Authority and the rising cost of living, and is meant to prop up the PA. The move is also a symptom of Israel’s hysterical reaction to foreign workers and African refugees. July saw the Israeli government grant permits to 5,000 Palestinian construction workers, including those who work in illegal West Bank settlements. The cynical move harnessed a captive labor market whose own economy has been crushed by the occupation—the very occupation it is being recruited…

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  • Forgotten deportees: Israeli-born children of migrant workers

    While Israel’s current campaign to deport some 700-1500 South Sudanese asylum seekers made headlines around the world, the mainstream media has neglected another ongoing expulsion. Originally published in The Daily Beast's Open Zion. Since March of 2011, the state has been arresting and deporting the Israeli-born children of migrant laborers along with their parents. In the past 16 months, over 90 families have been expelled. Many arrived on state-issued work visas and lost their legal status due to a policy that forbade foreign workers from having and keeping babies in the country—a policy that was struck down by the Israeli Supreme Court…

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  • Best things in Jewish state include: 24/7 convenience stores

    It's not often that I feel inspired to write about the aspects of the Jewish state that I really truly like, considering how much damage is done in the name of that state. So I am listing a few such aspects that I noticed this weekend, wondering if they add up to a different notion of what a "Jewish state" might mean. Here they are: AM/PM 24/7 convenience stores. While the experience of shopping for a standardized list of packaged and processed goods under ghastly fluorescent lights is an assault on my senses, I am grateful for the 24-hour convenience…

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  • Marginalized groups that Qatari PR would rather you not see

    The American network CBS - via its flagship news magazine show, "60 Minutes" - gave the tiny peninsula Kingdom of Qatar a free ride in its report earlier this year exploring the small gulf nation. Correspondent Bob Simon, dubbed by the network itself as "the most honored journalist in international reporting," delivered a public relations coup to the Emir and his government (i.e. family) by failing to properly investigate life in the country of less than two million people (the majority of whom are foreign laborers). Simon was partially right.  Yes, for many - namely, the wealthy portion of the…

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  • All signs point to Israel's weak democracy

    The assassination of Zuhair al-Qaissi, which sparked the escalation in the south, points to Israel's weak Supreme Court, a lack of transparency and accountability, and the state's flip attitude towards its judicial branch--as do some street signs in Tel Aviv The recent escalation between Israel and Gaza began after Israeli forces assassinated Zuhair al-Qaissi, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a militant group composed of members of various Palestinian parties. Haaretz noted that the PRC was "the organisation that captured Gilad Shalit", the Israeli soldier who was freed in October 2011. The army says that al-Qaissi was behind the August 2011…

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  • TA councilman calls for separate buses for 'smelly' foreigners

    A Tel Aviv city councilman is appealing to the state to allocate separate buses for African refugees and migrant workers, according to an article published on Mynet on Thursday Last week, Tel Aviv City Councilman Binyamin Babayoff (Shas) sent a letter to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Minister of Transportation Israel Katz, and Dr. Moshe Tiomkin, a Tel Aviv councilman and the head of the city’s Transportation, Traffic and Parking Authority. In an excerpt published by Mynet (local online Hebrew news affiliated with Ynet), Babayoff wrote that “illegal foreign workers fill the buses…” leaving no room for Jewish Israeli residents…

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  • Soldier sushi sous chefs coming soon

    What do you get when you combine xenophobic national politics and mandatory military service?  Bad sushi!  As if Israel’s sushi wasn’t lousy enough, now politicians are getting involved, a move that may effectively rid the foreign delicacy of all foreignness. The Israeli Defense Ministry has revealed that this summer, it will fund some one million shekels (nearly $300,000) of a sushi chef training course for post-service soldiers.  According to officials behind the program, the scheme is a win-win idea.  One ministry official told Ha’aretz newspaper: There is a lack of Israeli workers in this area, and that is why we…

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