In recent days, several municipalities throughout the country, including Ramat Gan, Rishon LeZion and others, have announced their intention to restrict construction and renovation work in educational institutions in order to reduce contact between children and youth, and Palestinian construction workers.
“The past shows that employing Palestinians reduces terrorism and does not increase it,” Raul Srugo, chair of the Israel Builders Association, said in a statement on Wednesday, in response to the move by the municipalities. “However, contractors must follow the instructions of the Israeli police and security forces.”
“Unlike illegal residents, who are in no way allowed to be employed in Israel, Palestinian workers allowed to work in the construction and infrastructure industry are checked by the security establishment before receiving a work permit,” he explained.
Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama Hacohen appealed to contractors working in the city following the terror attack in Bnei Brak, and asked on his Facebook page to “shut down the construction sites in the city that rely on Arab workers by tomorrow.”
The mayor of Beit Shemesh, Aliza Bloch, also addressed the demands raised by various residents to restrict the entry of Arab workers to the city, saying: “Residents who imagine that the city can be closed [to Palestinian workers] live in a fantasy. It’s the health workers, the builders, the cleaning workers. The city cannot be closed to them.”
The Kav LaOved Worker’s Hotline organization issued a statement expressing deep sorrow for the deaths and injuries of recent victims of terrorism.
“Incitement and agitation should not be given a platform against the entire population of Palestinian and Arab workers who are citizens of Israel,” the statement read. “Recent measures taken by several employers and mayors, including suspension and closure of construction sites and a call for Arab workers not to come to work, are unlawful collective punishment.”
“Harming workers and trying to paint an entire population as dangerous only endangers the workers themselves – this is never the solution. Any attempt to deal with terrorist attacks through workplace violence against an entire public is completely unacceptable, and signals to residents that removing Palestinian and Arab workers from Israeli citizens from living and working areas is a legitimate solution.”
This article was translated from Hebrew by Benji Sharp.