Editorial: Indians Heading To Israel For Work Shows Desperation

Editorial: Indians Heading To Israel For Work Shows Desperation

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 11:34 PM IST
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A worker in Lucknow showing his passport and Israel work application | File

Hundreds of thousands of young and middle-aged men have queued up at recruitment centres this past week in Rohtak, Lucknow and other places to secure work in Israel. The desperate men have told the press that they are more bothered about earning a decent wage and putting food on the table for their families than about the war situation as Israel continues to bombard Palestine, especially Gaza Strip, in complete defiance of international appeals, since the Hamas attack on its territory on October 7 last year. Israel’s reprisal has meant that thousands of Palestinian workers were taken off rolls or left behind their jobs to be with their families. Workers of other nationalities such as Thai left, too. Israel seeks to fill this gap with Indian workers who are available in large numbers, at relatively low rates.

As the men head out, however, often being promised ten times what they could make back in their villages or hometowns here, they are focused on the opportunity more than the risks involved. This is disturbing and calls for the Indian government to step in. It is the government’s responsibility to educate them, and make them aware of the risks they face and the rights they have. But this does not seem to be happening.

The long queues to go to Israel despite the risks involved also points to the gnawing lack of employment and opportunities in India although the government keeps harping on India being the fifth largest economy in the world, ahead of the UK, and enjoying healthy growth. Independent reports show 42 percent of all graduates face unemployment. The enrolment in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the free rations to more than 81 crore tell the story of ‘India Struggling’, not ‘India Shining’.

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