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Artichoke farm in Nir Banim

Government to Mull Plan to Replace Palestinian Laborers with 80,000 Foreign Workers

The government is reportedly set to consider a plan that would seek to replace thousands of Palestinian laborers with workers flown in from abroad, as the country attempts to recover from the shocking attacks of October 7.

The ambitious proposal is designed to address a perceived security threat by allowing the continued barring of most Palestinians, but it carries the risk of fueling fresh anger and disillusionment in Judea and Samaria by removing what many policymakers see as a key economic valve keeping the motivation for terror in check.

Under the reported plan, Israel would bring in over 80,000 workers, mainly from Asia, for jobs in construction and agriculture normally filled by Palestinians.

According to Israeli media, the proposal, the brainchild of a body set up to coordinate between ministries, calls for Israel to arrange for the entry of 25,500 workers from Sri Lanka, 20,000 from China, 17,000 from India, 13,000 from Thailand, and 6,000 from Moldova.

It’s unclear, though, if Israel will be able to recruit enough workers to plug the gap during the ongoing war, despite offering higher wages than their home countries for manual labor.

Before the Hamas attack and subsequent war in Gaza, some 150,000 Palestinians from Judea and Samaria and an additional 18,500 from the Gaza Strip had permits to enter Israel for work, according to the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Thousands more Palestinians are thought to enter illegally for work as well, a phenomenon Israel had largely turned a blind eye to before cracking down in recent years over security concerns. (TOI / VFI News)

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