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"Slavery Law" passes final vote in Israeli parliament

An amendment to Israel’s Citizenship and Entry Law was passed in a 26-6 vote in Knesset today, enabling the government to confine and dictate migrant workers’ rights. The Citizenship and Entry Law, first passed in 2003, prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from acquiring residency or citizenship through, most commonly marriage or family reunifications. The amendment to the law applies to migrant workers employed in various care-taking and nursing services, which provides the backbone of elderly care in this country (including my own grandparents).

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Interior Ministry may

restrict the number of times a migrant caregiver can change employers, to limit workers to specific geographical areas, and to confine them to specific subsections of the nursing services. The amendment constitutes an attempt to circumvent the High Court of Justice and to restore an earlier “binding arrangement” of migrant workers to their employers, which the High Court has already criticized in 2006 for “creating a modern form of slavery” following a petition by five human rights organizations.

Fittingly called the “Slavery Law,” this bill grants the State the right to impede basic human rights of freedom of labor and movement.

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    1. Abban Aziz

      Slavery law? You must be high.

      Migrant workers = illegal immigrants.

      Non-citizens don’t get the same rights as citizens. Israel simply cannot afford to absorb thousands of Africans that are fleeing REAL SLAVERY in Sudan. Palestinians unfortunately get priority over everybody else, and Gaza aid matters more than aid to real refugees fleeing Arab League-sponsored genocide.

      It is unfortunate reality, but Israel only has so much resources.

      In Europe, it is damn near impossible for migrants to get citizenship. In Sweden for example 2nd and 3rd generation immigrations aren’t given citizenship.

      14,000 immigrants are deported every year from Canada.

      Israel’s immigrant laws are historically very relaxed compared to its critics, but this author has the audacity to describe the new law as “slavery.”

      You don’t know what slavery is.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Sofia Smith

      No, she is not high! These are migrant workers. Not illegal immigrants. Migrant workers who enter the country predominantly under legal contracts! Only someone who would never be affected by such a law would deny what this bill actually means! IT MEANS SLAVERY!

      And by the way, I would never be affected by such a bill myself. I, however, have a conscience! Shame on those that deny what this law really means!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Abban Aziz

      Slavery implies indentured servitude. This migrant law effectively prevents migrants from taking over the state with their decedents.

      Granting residential status to the decedents of non-citizens is simply absurd. And Israel does not have the economy to deal with such a burden.

      You already have a major housing crisis (only 10,000 apartments available as of this comment in the entire state of Israel) and the palestinians and the military take priority over everyone else.

      migrants will have to take a back seat. they’re lucky to be in israel. in saud or oil states they would truly be slaves.

      Reply to Comment
    4. max

      Sofia,
      No one would like to live in a country with people exposing 100% agreement with the government, and Mairav is doing a good job fighting for her views, including the usage of inflammatory titles. That’s democracy.
      But accepting her openly one-sided story as truth and pretending that the eye-catching slogan label is true, is ridiculous.
      Just consider that many respected liberal democracies have had such laws for decades. You may disagree with them, but I’d expect some respect to the many millions who think that such laws strike a good balance

      Reply to Comment
    5. Susan Freiman

      Who are “the decedents of non-citizens,” Mr. Aziz?

      Reply to Comment
    6. D

      Aziz, this law has been deemed the “Slavery Law” for two reasons: One, that the Israeli Supreme Court itself has already called the previous arrangement binding migrant workers to employers “a modern form of slavery” (this is an actual quote from the Supreme Court ruling in 2006), and ruled that it is unconstitutional.

      And the second reason is that this new law restricts the number of employers a legal migrant caretaker may switch. Now, if you know anything about this group of workers, mostly women, you know that they are particularly vulnerably to all sorts of abuse from employers, including sexual assaults (mostly from family members of their patient). This means that a migrant caregiver might not be able to leave an abusive employer (even of the emplyer is not a rapist, just doesn’t pay her what he owes her), lest she lose her work permit. That, my friend, is “a modern form of slavery” – certified as such by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Phil

      @ Abban Aziz

      Re: “granting residential status to decedents of non-citizens”

      I agree that this is simply absurd. There is no point in giving such status to the dead

      Reply to Comment
    8. Abban Aziz

      For clarity, are these “migrants” citizens or not? Are they legally in the country or not?

      Reply to Comment
    9. directrob

      Abban, Yes. Do you blindly approve of everything Israel does?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Abban Aziz

      Yes they are citizens or yes they are in Israel illegally?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Dannecker

      Mairav
      what the hell are your grandparents doing in Palestine. Send them back home to Brooklyn

      Reply to Comment
    12. directrob

      Abban and the answer is: they are in Israel legally taking care of Israeli that need care.

      Reply to Comment
    13. max

      I’m not familiar with the details, but restrictions on time and the inability to switch employer when on working visa exist in many European countries.
      What’s the “slavery” aspect in this particular case?

      Reply to Comment
    14. directrob

      If there is a slavery aspect people can complain to the European court. It really does not matter wrong is wrong in either case.

      Reply to Comment
    15. max

      DIRECTROB, you’re being dishonest. What do you know of this law that makes it different from the Swedish & Swiss laws? (sorry, I only studied these 2)

      Reply to Comment
    16. Its such a disappointment that many people do not understand how it would affect us, female migrant workers. we work hard 24/7 for a meager salary and we are often subjected to a lot of negative things that many people would say is not right but we shut our mouth because we need the income and many are too scared even just to squeak that they need help. we do not change jobs,or do the things that are stipulated in that law just for the hell of it. We always do it for a reason because its not easy to adjust from one job to another especially taking care of an elderly. Now that law has just stripped us of what little is left of our basic right for our protection!

      Reply to Comment
    17. mark from kentucky

      This comment has been deleted for use of foul language

      Reply to Comment
    18. mark from kentucky

      How convenient so much for free speech here! Which words were actually foul!? Or was it the context itself you found foul! I don’t care! The message is getting out despite you and what this is really about! LOL what a joke!

      Reply to Comment
    19. mark from kentucky

      Oh i see! So when is the word a___ss! A bad word!

      Reply to Comment
    20. mark from kentucky

      Nothing like the electronic Berlin Wall to destroy a good commentary! The Ultimate in hypocrisy and intellectual laziness! With a techno twist!

      Reply to Comment
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