Despite the large investment Israel has made in constructing a security fence on its southern border to keep illegal foreign workers out, the government's Social-Economic Cabinet on Sunday approved entry permits for yet more foreign workers – in this case, Arabs from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, who will be working in construction inside Israel.
Some 3,000 more PA Arabs will be allowed to work in Israel, with a total of 27,500 PA Arabs to be employed in the Israeli building industry. This will be the highest number of PA Arabs to work in the industry since the mid-1990s, before the "Second Intifada," in which terrorists posing as Arab workers imposed a reign of terror upon Israelis, killing hundreds and maiming thousands in a seemingly endless string of bombings and shootings. The terror continued unabated until the IDF embarked on Operation Defensive Shield (Homat Magen) and built the security fence in Judea and Samaria.
Speaking Sunday, Housing Minister Ariel Attias welcomed the addition of the workers. “We will be unable to continue to expand housing starts without increasing the number of workers. I welcome this move, which will help increase the pace of housing construction, ease the housing shortage, and bring prices down.”
The assumption among many Israelis is that Jews do not want to work in construction, but the fact is, said a contractor who is building the new Ma'oz Ido neighborhood in the Samaria town of Kedumim, that there are plenty of Jews who would be happy to take good-paying construction jobs. Speaking to Arutz Sheva in a recent interview, Yochai Ofan of the Kedumim La’ad construction company, which is responsible for the project, said that there were plenty of Jews interested in working on construction projects, especially in Judea and Samaria.
“A beard and a kippah are not a requirement [to work here], but there is definitely a feeling of building the land of Israel out of awareness of the Torah,” he said, “and the fact that we are fulfilling the vision of the prophets, something for which we waited 2,000 years."
Ma'oz Ido is named for the late Ido (Idodi) Zoldan, who was murdered by terrorists who shot up his car in 2007 as he was driving home. It was built by Jewish workers exclusively.