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September 30, 1988 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

COATS
UNLIMITED

.iecutoei-1 goiecbruzevl

Sterling Heights

PHOTOGRAi--)HY

Weddings • Bar Mitzvahs • Portraits
Sport Teams • Old Photos Copied
Instant Passport Photos

25784 Middlebelt Road

Sterling Place
37680 Van Dyke at 16 1/2 Mile
939-0700

Oak Park
Lincoln Center, Greenfield at 10V2 Mile
968-2060

(Mid - Eleven Center:i

313)477-4753

Farmington Hills, MI 48018

4111

West Bloomfield
Orchard Mall, Orchard Lake
at Maple (15 Mile) • 855-9955

GEORGE BUSH

A Friend

of the

Jewish Community

■ Vice President Bush secretly spent four
days in the Sudan to arrange the rescue
of the last of the Ethiopian Jews.

■ Under the Reagan-Bush Administration,
foreign aid to Israel tripled, and is now $3
billion a year, the highest amount given
to any nation.

■ Vice President Bush has promised that if
Israel is thrown out of the U.N., the United
States would leave with Israel.

■ Reagan /Bush created the first strategic
alliance with Israel that included joint de-
velopment of weapons and missiles.

VOTE
BUSH FOR PRESIDENT

paid for by Frank R. Berman

36

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1988

LIFE IN ISRAEL I

A New Work Ethic

Since the Palestinian uprising, Israeli
industries that depend heavily on Arab
laborers are trying to attract a more
reliable work force — Jews

JOEL REBIBO

Special to The Jewish News

eruslaem — The Pales-
tinian uprising in the
West Bank and Gaza
Strip has hurt tourism,
strained U.S.-Israeli relations
and turned the Israeli army
into a police force. But it may
have one positive effect: It
may bring Jews back to
manual labor.
Since 1967, when Israel
captured the territories dur-
ing the Six Day War and
gained access to an enormous
resevoir of cheap Arab labor,
Jews have abandoned the
country's construction sites,
packing houses and fields.
Though many Israelis warn-
ed that this trend was "un-
Zionist," unhealthy and
maybe even immoral, it took
the uprising to show how
dangerous it was to depend on
Arab workers. Now, many
labor-intensive industries are
trying to find ways to attract
Jewish workers.
In the citrus industry,
where Arabs make up 60 per-
cent of the work force, growers
are seriously considering an
Agriculture Ministry pro-
posal to grow smaller trees.
The theory is that Jews will
be more likely to work if fruit-
picking can be made less
dangerous and difficult.
Building contractors also
depend heavily on chap Arab
labor, and are trying to at-
tract Jewish workers. Special
deals now available for
demobilized soldiers allow
them to train in the building
trades while still receiving
unemployment benefits.
But the citrus growers and
builders and slaughter-
houses, which have been forc-
ed to reduce their chicken
production by one-third
because 60 percent of their
workers are Arabs, know that
the solution to their problem
requires a basic change in the
way Israelis relate to manual
labor.
Several years ago, when the
government implemented its
economic recovery program
and unemployment began to
climb, an Israeli Employment
Service official told reporters,
"Jobs are available in
agriculture and building, but
young people are looking for
office jobs that pay moderate-
ly well and offer security."
It wasn't always that way.

j

Israelis once took pride in
working the land. Draining
swamps, building roads, prun-
ing trees — even cleaning
streets — was part and parcel
of the Zionist dream.
But that changed in 1967.
With hundreds of thousands
of workers from the adminis-
tered territories willing to
work for less than $20 a day,
wages dropped dramatically
and Jews left construction
and agriculture. Almost over-
night, manual labor became
synonymous with Arab labor.
"Before 1967, construction'
workers were paid well, better
than office workers, and we
were respected," said Haim
Mizrahi, a foreman with 40
years' experience. "But once
the builders got hold of
Arabs, who did not pay taxes
and who didn't get some of
the social benefits we got,
then the wages dropped.
Eli Assayag, a construction
worker with 30 years' ex-
perience, who immigrated
from Morocco in 1948 added,
"The builders' attitude was, 'I
can pay an Arab $20 a day, so
why should I pay more for
you?'
The builders reaped a dou-
ble bonanza. Not only did

"Jobs are available
in agriculture and
building, but young
people are looking
for office jobs that
pay moderately
well and offer
security."

their costs drop, but demand
for apartments in a unified
Jerusalem soared. The upris-
ing changed all that too. Even
though about 80 percent of
the workers from Gaza and
the West Bank now show up
for work, at least one day per
week is lost due to strikes
called by the underground
Palestinian leadership, ac-
cording to Yehuda Yisrael,
chairman of the Jerusalem
Building Association.
The uprising also raises
questions about the stability
of the status quo in the ad-
ministered territories. How
reliable is that source of
cheap labor in the long term?
Israeli builders, who put up
20,000 apartments per year,

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