PA Paper: Jewish Employers Treat Arabs Better

Boycotts target Jewish companies in Judea and Samaria - but PA survey finds local Arabs get better pay and rights from Jewish employers.

Ari Yashar ,

Arab workers at SodaStream plant
Arab workers at SodaStream plant
Flash 90

The global BDS boycott move against Israeli Jewish businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in Judea and Samaria claims to aim to benefit local Arabs - but according to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) official daily, it is doing just the opposite.

The PA paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, on Sunday published an article reviewing the difference between Jewish and Arab employers as reported by local Arab workers.

Overwhelmingly the article, which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), found Arab employers take advantage of their workers, while Jewish employers display solid work ethics towards their Arab employees.

In fact, the only time when an Arab employee of a Jewish business owner does get swindled is when there is an Arab middleman; as the article puts it "the only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli (employer) determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian."

The article stated outright "whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers - for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights."

"The salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied West Bank," continued the PA daily, noting the enormous gap in pay.

But salary is not the only stark advantage: "the (Israeli) work conditions are very good, and include transportation, medical insurance and pensions. These things do not exist with Palestinian employers."

Even where the PA has tried to regulate a minimum pay scale, the PA paper reveals it has been completely lax in enforcing that law, meaning that in practice each worker is vulnerable to whatever conditions his employer may foist on him.

"Israel has forced its employers in the West Bank to pay [Israeli] minimum wage, which is 23 shekels an hour, to Palestinian workers. However, the PA passed a law, but does not force the employers in the PA areas to implement it, thereby exposing the worker to potential exploitation," explains the article.

The article include quotes from some local Arab workers to compare treatment by Arab and Jewish employers.

Mohammed al-Hinnawi, a construction worker employed by Arabs, told the daily "I receive a daily salary of 70 shekels, without pension, and I have no other choice."

By contrast, Thaer al-Louzi who used to work for an Israeli concrete factory noted "I received a salary of 140 shekels a day. Now, after I was injured, I receive a salary through the insurance."

While the article highlights the advantages to Arab workers, it is worth noting that many have warned the practice of Jewish businesses hiring Arab employees is a dangerous trend, given the long history of such workers abusing their position to commit terror attacks.

Those attacks have included many cases of Arab employees poisoning Jews while working on their homes, as well as attacks on Jewish co-workers.

The latter was demonstrated most recently in the case of Netanel Arami, who fell to his death while working rapelling on a construction site last week; reportedly police found his ropes slashed and found Arab workers laughing on the roof he was attached to.