Updated January 18th, 2024 at 19:36 IST
Indian workers flock to Israel for lucrative construction jobs despite Gaza conflict: Report
Workers are willing to risk the conflict zone for the chance to earn up to five times their salaries in India.
India job crisis: Thousands of Indian labourers, including masons, painters, electricians, and plumbers, lined up for a recruitment drive in Haryana yesterday, January 17, seeking construction jobs in Israel, news agency Reuters reported. The ongoing conflict in Gaza, now in its fourth month, has created a labour shortage in the Jewish state, presenting an opportunity for Indian workers eager for higher wages despite the security risks.
Driven by high unemployment in India, particularly among young adults, workers are willing to risk the conflict zone for the chance to earn up to five times their salaries in India. As Lekharam, a mason at the Rohtak recruitment camp, put it, "If it's in our destiny to die, then we can die either here or there. I hope that we will go and do good work and spend some time and come back."
Both the Israeli embassy in New Delhi and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the recruitment drive.
This demand aligns with Israel's need for foreign workers. Following a Hamas attack in October, the construction sector has stalled, prompting plans to bring in 70,000 workers from China, India, and other countries. The National Skills Development Corporation of India has also been actively exploring labor opportunities in Israel.
While recruiters at the camp remained tight-lipped, 28-year-old mason Vivek Sharma openly acknowledged the conflict but prioritised the potential financial gains. "Yes, I am aware of the conflict, but I can earn a lot of money in a short time," he said, estimating a potential annual income of over $12,000 in Israel compared to years of effort to earn the same amount back home.
This recruitment drive exemplifies the growing trend of Indian workers seeking overseas opportunities, with government data showing 13 million Indian nationals currently working abroad. Last year's agreement between India and Israel to allocate over 40,000 Indian workers for nursing and construction sectors further underlines this emerging collaboration.
(With Reuters inputs.)
Published January 18th, 2024 at 19:36 IST