Roy Arad on "Israel's Builders" at at the LRB blog (thanks to SheldonRichman):Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net
During Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Eastern Europe in the summer, the governments of Romania and Bulgaria agreed not to vote in favour of the Palestinian state at the UN. Israel has since arranged several thousand work permits for Romanian and Bulgarian builders. This is supposedly a win-win deal that shows the creativity of the Netanyahu government (he also suggested replacing striking Israeli doctors with physicians from India). On the one hand, Israel wants to speed up cheap construction to solve its housing crisis. On the other, Romania and Bulgaria will earn foreign currency and reduce unemployment. The deal will also strengthen Israel’s ties with Turkey’s European neighbours.
When my grandfather Hezi Holdengerber arrived in Israel from Romania after the Holocaust, he and his brothers built roofs together. Now Jews work in construction only as bosses or engineers. Half of Israel’s construction workers are Arab citizens of Israel; the other half are Chinese or Palestinian, some of whom are likely to lose their jobs under the new agreements.