Israel is said to be contemplating a strategy aimed at replacing numerous Palestinian laborers with foreign workers, as part of the country’s recovery efforts following the alarming events of October 7.
This ambitious proposal is intended to address perceived security concerns by maintaining restrictions on most Palestinians.
However, it carries the potential risk of intensifying resentment and disillusionment in the West Bank, as it eliminates what many policymakers view as a crucial economic outlet that helps restrain motivations for terrorism.
According to the proposed plan, Israel is considering importing more than 80,000 workers, predominantly from Asia, to fill positions in construction and agriculture that are traditionally occupied by Palestinians.
After the October 7 attacks by Hamas, which saw thousands of Gazan terrorists causing havoc in southern Israel, resulting in the death of 1,200 people and the kidnapping of 240 hostages, Israel imposed strict limitations on Palestinian entry.
In the aftermath of the attacks, numerous foreign farm laborers in southern Israel left the country.
The assault also led to the death or abduction of dozens of foreign nationals, mostly from Thailand, with some still held hostage in Gaza.
The labor shortage has further intensified due to the deployment of hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Israelis for the ongoing war.
As per the Kan public broadcaster, the proposal, originating from a coordinating body between ministries, suggests 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.
However, it remains uncertain whether Israel can attract a sufficient number of workers to fill the gap, despite offering higher wages than their home countries for manual labor, especially amid the ongoing war.