Israel faces severe shortage of manual laborers

National Bureau for Statistics says over 42,000 positions for cleaners cannot be filled due to lack of permits for Palestinians in West Bank, work visa refusals for foreigners and young Israelis' unwillingness to get their hands dirty

Gad Lior|
Israel is facing a severe shortage of workers in low paying manual jobs, such as cleaners, according to employers' organizations in the country.
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  • "We will soon be out of workers," a representative of subcontractors, who supply cleaning services to a local hospital told Ynet.
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      Illustration of cleaners
      Illustration of cleaners
    Illustration of cleaners
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "The government does not allow Palestinians into the country to work and we are unable to bring in laborers from abroad, while Israelis refuse to do the work," he said.
    A report issued by the Somekh Chaikin accounting firm, found there are more than 42,000 positions for cleaners that cannot be filled.
    The report is based on data provided by employers and by the National Bureau for Statistics, as well as government publications and other sources. The shortage is expected to grow to 120,000 over the next 20 years.
    Cleaners employed through subcontracting companies often work is most strategic government spots such as ministries, hospitals, senior care facilities, local authorities and more.
    In hospitals, three daily shifts covered by cleaners are responsible among other things, for sterile conditions in operating rooms and general hygiene around the facility.
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    לשכת תעסוקה
    לשכת תעסוקה
    Israelis look for jobs through the government employment office
    (Photo: Employment Agency )
    Unless a solution to the shortage is found, many sectors stand to be affected and undocumented workers, who entered the country illegally, may be hired under adverse conditions.
    The report outlines possible solutions including an increase in the number of Palestinians permitted to work in Israel, an increase in working visas for foreigners and special monetary bonuses for Israelis who complete their military service and choose to work in manual labor for a certain period of time.
    Monica Rosenberg, CEO of the association of cleaning services in Israel, said cleaners are taken for granted. "We are heading towards a crisis of unknown proportions," she said. "The government must take the matter seriously."
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