Photo: ActiveStills

According to the State of Israel, the immigration of non-Jews to the country is, at best, a phenomenon that is inevitable due to the unwillingness of Israelis to be employed in labor-intensive jobs for low pay, and at worst, an existential threat.

The State sees the migrant workers who arrive to Israel with permits given by the State as working hands that stay in Israel on a temporary basis only – the stay in Israel of all migrant workers except those in the caregiving sector is limited to 63 months. These working hands don’t have basic rights that are reserved to Israelis. Thus, migrant workers who leave an abusive employer are restricted in their ability to find a new employer due to the Binding Arrangement. The employment of migrant workers is restricted to the field of work stated in their visa. In addition, the High Court of Justice ruled that migrant workers are not entitled to overtime pay, in contrast with all other workers in Israel. Until a High Court ruling in 2011, migrant workers were denied the right to have a family in Israel and migrant women who became pregnant lost their legal status and were deported from the country. Migrant workers, even those employed in Israel for many years in the caregiving sector, are denied the option to become permanent residents in Israel.

Israeli officials publicly refer to asylum-seekers as a demographic threat, and not as a phenomenon that affects the entire world in an age of globalization, mass migration and systematic human rights violations and wars that drive people to seek asylum. Asylum-seekers in Israel, unlike in other Western countries, are denied the basic right to liberty, as well as the right to a fair refugee status determination process. Asylum-seekers in Israel also have no access to medical and welfare services except in life-threatening situations.