If you’ve been to Israel lately, you might have seen Masada, the kotel, and the Tel Aviv nightlight. But did you notice the 180,000 migrant workers from the Philippines, China, Thailand and other countries, performing the agricultural and service jobs that help Israel thrive? They are also one of the most vulnerable groups in Israel; as non-citizens, non-Hebrew speakers, and non-Jews, they are often an invisible ‘other.’
Further, their visas are issued to their employers, leaving migrants dependent on their employers for legal status, and vulnerable to exploitation. Work termination for any reason puts them at risk for detention and deportation.
A Jewish issue
Leviticus 19:33-34 tells us that ‘When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’
Are we treating foreign workers as we would like to be treated? The Hotline for Migrant Workers says we could be doing better.