Migrant labor is Expensive

Arab women too, just like growers, need to earn a respectable living. Agriculture can and must contribute to this, because growers’ and governments’ addiction to cheap labor also harms agriculture,...

Arab women too, just like growers, need to earn a respectable living. Agriculture can and must contribute to this, because growers’ and governments’ addiction to cheap labor also harms agriculture, which lags behind in modernization and efficiency. It also harms the economy in general. The OECD long ago noted the low rate of workforce participation among Arab women in Israel as hindering the growth of the economy. The government itself decided to gradually decrease the number of migrant laborers and increase the number of Arab women in employment to 41% by 2020 – but in practice its policies encourage unemployment.

You don’t need to be an economist to understand that the addition of some 30,000 women working in agriculture for the minimum wage will increase GDP, decrease the number of those dependent on social security handouts, reduce socioeconomic disparities, and boost the Israeli economy as a whole. But for the government, it’s business as usual: nice words and no action.

The authors lead the Women in Work project of the worker’s organization WAC-MAAN

Translated by Yonatan Preminger

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