Israel launched a construction recruitment drive in India this week seeking 10,000 workers as its war in Gaza makes Israeli reservists and Palestinians unavailable for building work.
Thousands of young electricians, masons, plumbers, and carpenters flocked to a recruitment camp at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, about an hour’s drive northwest of New Delhi, Reuters reports.
At the start of January, Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry said it would increase the quota of foreign construction workers from 50,000 to 70,000 in a bid to attract workers from India, China, and elsewhere, reports The Jerusalem Post.
The sector faces an acute labour shortage after some 80,000 Palestinian construction workers were barred from entering Israel in the wake of the 7 October Hamas terror attacks, the Post said.
Israeli army reservists who work in construction are also unavailable as the conflict enters its fourth month.
Some Indian workers told Reuters they were attracted to the higher wages on offer despite the risks of working in a conflict zone.
“Yes, I am aware of the conflict, but I can earn a lot of money in a short time,” 28-year-old mason Vivek Sharma told the news agency.
Sharma said he believed he could earn more that a million rupees – $12,000 – working in Israel for a year.
“It could take me at least five years to earn the same amount of money in India,” he added.