PMO director-general cancels meeting with farmers

PMO director-general can

November 8, 2009 13:33
1 minute read.

Prime Minister's Office Director-General Eyal Gabai on Sunday canceled his planned meeting with farmers over foreign worker quotas due to fierce protests across the country. "Instead of dialogue, you've chosen aggression," said Gabai in comments directed at the farmers. Instead, Gabai will convene a meeting of other professionals on the matter, excluding the farmers themselves. Hundreds of farmers blocked 13 junctions across the country on Sunday morning, dumping vegetables and blocking traffic, in protest of restrictions in their allotment of foreign workers, and what protest organizers termed was the "government's disregard for making decisions on the foreign worker issue." Affected interchanges included Arava, Achva, Ben-Gurion, Beit She'an, Ha'Roe and Mahanaim. The farmers claim that while Interior Ministry monitors were quick to enforce the five-year limits on permits for workers already in Israel, they delayed and at times blocked permits for new workers. Several farmers told Army Radio that there was a severe shortage of manpower, particularly at a time when fruit was ripening and there was not enough people to pick them. In response, the Interior Ministry said, "We are doing what we can to help speed up the issuing of work permits, but it depends on dozens of other ministers who need to change government decisions on the matter."

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