The government’s emergency programme: handouts for real-estate companies rather than job creation

WAC Press release 18.11.08

After months of denials and attempts to present the Israeli economy as an island of prosperity unaffected by the global economic crisis, the Treasury has finally changed its tune. Details have been leaked in the last few days of an emergency programme for handling the crisis.

The Treasury has capitulated in the face of a wave of redundancies in hi-tech positions, fears that the diamond industry will soon follow suit, and the loss of 800 jobs in the security firm ‘Mishmar,’ as well as 120 jobs after ‘Marbak’ abattoir closed its doors. These events dispel any doubt as to the direction in which the economy is heading.

However, the emergency plan, which may consist of as much as 15 billion shekels, does not tackle the central problem faced by an economy in recession, namely, the need to create jobs and job security. As it appears so far, the plan would invest in infrastructure, increase budgets for professional training, and ease the burden of small businesses by creating credit trusts and delaying VAT payments.

Yet public projects in infrastructure do not bring about employment for local people, nor do they assure fair pay. The government is loyal to the very same free market principles which have brought about the current world crisis. Thus, it enables real-estate companies to employ imported migrant workers and to hire through subcontractors and manpower firms. Instead, the government should use public money to encourage fair employment for local workers.

Under enormous pressure from lobbyists, the government refuses to halt the import of foreign workers in construction, agricultural and personal care. A substantial reduction in the importation of workers would create tens of thousands of local jobs. How shall we explain the fact that this crucial issue is not at the centre of the emergency programme?

The Workers Advice Center (WAC – MA’AN) calls for a change in priorities: instead of serving tycoons and manpower firms, the government should protect local workers and establish a clear order of preference. The creation of jobs must be a top priority. Without this, billions more will be spent without benefit to the market or to society.


The East Jerusalem Project

Significant Achievements of MAAN – Workers Association in Protecting Workers’ Rights

Since the outbreak of the war, MAAN – Workers Association has secured the labor rights, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and support for work accidents for over 300 residents of East Jerusalem. This includes opening checkpoints and distributing food vouchers, translating to over 3 million NIS in benefits. Notably, over 40% of those who received assistance are women.

Palestinian Workers

The government’s decision to massively import overseas workers is social lawlessness, a disaster for both the economy and security. It must be revoked and Palestinians must be allowed to return to their jobs in Israel

Wednesday, May 15, the Israeli government approved a structural reform on employment of migrant workers where it allowed a ceiling of 330,000 overseas workers in the Israeli job market. MAAN sees this decision as a step that defies all economic logic, contradicts labor market planning, and opens the way to a dangerous expansion of human trafficking for labor purposes in Israel. In addition, the decision reflects complete disregard for the consequences of the continued halt in employment of Palestinians.

The East Jerusalem Project

Severe employment crisis in East Jerusalem ahead of Ramadan

On the eve of Ramadan, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are facing an economic and social crisis exacerbated by a 7.6 per cent increase in unemployment since the outbreak of the war. Despite the crisis, the government is severely undermining its own five-year plan for East Jerusalem. MAAN Workers Association (hence MAAN) calls on the mayor and the incoming city council to secure budgets to reduce socio-economic gaps in the city.

Palestinian Workers

MAAN and Kav Laoved write to Immigration and Population Authority and demand to reserve a place in the quota for Palestinian workers with a permit who resigned/fired during the “Iron Swords” war

The two workers’ rights groups wrote on Feb. 13 to Mr. Moshe Nakash the head of the Immigration and Population Authority and demanded that special measures will be taken to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian workers and also to enable Israeli employers to overcome the crisis and keep their experienced workers.


אנא כתבו את שמכם המלא, טלפון ותיאור קצר של נושא הפנייה, ונציג\ה של מען יחזרו אליכם בהקדם האפשרי.

رجاءً اكتبوا اسمكم الكامل، الهاتف، ووصف قصير حول موضوع توجهكم، ومندوب عن نقابة معًا سيعاود الاتصال بكم لاحقًا

As an organization committed to the rights of workers without distinction of religion, race, nationality, gender, or profession - democracy is our essence. We strongly oppose the authoritarian laws that the extreme government of Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Smotrich is attempting to impose.

Without democracy, there are no workers' rights, just as a workers' organization cannot exist under dictatorship.

only a victory of the democratic camp will enable a discussion on the Palestinian issue and lead to an alternative solution to occupation and apartheid while ensuring human rights and citizenship for all, Israelis and Palestinians alike. As long as the apartheid regime persists, the democratic camp will not succeed in defeating Israeli extremists. Therefore, we work to involve the Arab and Palestinian society in the protest.

We invite you:

To march with us in protests and to build an alternative, democratic, Jewish-Arab professional union in Israel. Join our quiet WhatsApp group today, "Marching with us in protest."

To join MAAN and unite workers in your workplace. Read here how to join the organization.

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