Israel has entered into an agreement with China to bring in 6,000 construction workers to address the housing shortage concerns in the country, contributing to higher prices.
However, according to reports by Israeli media, the country has acceded to Chinese demands that the workers will not work in Judea and Samaria. But officials known with the matter from both countries declined to comment further, and said the two sides have agreed on the locations wherein the Chinese labour will work.
The agreement was signed in Jerusalem by Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant and Chinese International Trade Representative and Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying, Israel National News reported.
Prime Minister Binyjamin Netanyahu had reached agreements on broad outlines of the deal during a visit to China last month. Growing housing costs have become an issue in Israel wherein waves of protests were provoked in 2011.
Furthermore labour shortages have exacerbated the problem, leading to several thousands of labourers been brought in from countries, to meet the manpower crunch and market demands for affordable housing.
According to briefings provided during the signing of MOUs it said that, Israel and China shall “take reasonable steps to jointly protect the personal safety of Chinese employees during their employment in Israel, and for this purpose the parties agree that Chinese employees recruited under the present agreement shall work in areas of Israel designated and agreed upon by the parties from time to time,” The Jerusalem Post reports.
The Finance Ministry had earlier issued a statement saying that, one of the main goals of the agreement was to eliminate brokerage fees and the possibility of human trafficking, and that it was designed to ensure supervision of the entire process from the time the workers depart China, until they leave Israel at the end of the term of their employment.
This agreement will join several other such agreements entered with Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova in the recent years to bring construction workers in the country. Jerusalem Post reports that in 2016, there were an estimated 235,000 construction workers in Israel, of which an estimated 42,000 were Palestinians, 3,500 from China, 2,800 from Moldavia, 1,000 from Bulgaria, and a few from Romania.