Following the October 7 attacks on Israel, Tel Aviv suspended contracts of Palestinian workers, which has led to thousands of Indians from across the country applying for jobs.
Most of the applicants are applying for jobs in the construction sector and are drawn by the chance to earn far higher wages even if it means working in a war zone.
The ongoing crisis in Israel has also led to thousands of migrant workers from Thailand, Nepal and the Philippines opting to return home after seeing their fellow countrymen killed in the conflict.
This comes amid the backdrop of the Israeli construction sector facing a labour shortage due to the cancellation of work permits for Palestinian workers.
“There is an unemployment problem in India, and the Israeli wages are higher for the same role… so I believe this will help raise the living standards of these labourers who come here,” Nina Slama, an India-Israel relations analyst, guest lecturer, teaching assistant and project manager at Reichman University told StratNews Global.
According to media reports, Israeli authorities are hoping to recruit 50,000 to 100,000 Indian migrant workers in the coming months.
Haim Feiglin, the vice president of the Israel Builders Association, was quoted by VOA as saying “Right now we are negotiating with India,” despite India’s historical support for a two-state solution to the conflict.
“We are waiting for [the] decision of the Israeli government to approve that. And, we hope to engage 50,000 to 100,000 workers from India to be able to run the whole sector and bring it back to normal.
“We are at war and the Palestinian workers, which are about 25% of our human resources in the sector, are not coming, are not permitted to work in Israel.”
Even before the war started, India and Israel signed an agreement in 2023 that would send 42,000 Indian construction and nursing workers to Israel, according to comments by former Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen in the Israeli parliament.
Israel, relies majorly on foreign workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction and caregiving.