Jordanian day workers are a boon to Eilat hoteliers, but no blessing for jobless Africans

Migrants or refugees, Eritreans and Sudanese are afraid to return home and feel they will never be accepted in Israel.

AFRICAN REFUGEES are seen leaving the Holot detention facility. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
AFRICAN REFUGEES are seen leaving the Holot detention facility.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Hundreds of Jordanians have been crossing the border into Israel on a daily basis for just over a month now, to access their new jobs in hotels across the southern Israeli port town of Eilat. In recent years these jobs – mainly cleaning and washing dishes, which have failed to attract Israelis – were filled by African migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, who are also described as refugees, asylum seekers, illegal infiltrators or economic migrants, depending on whom you ask. The decision to invite Jordanian guest workers – which was spearheaded by Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and Eilat Mayor Meir Itzhak Halevy – has been widely lauded for the cooperation between Israel and its neighbor. The implications for those African migrants whom the Jordanian workers are replacing, however, appear to have been overlooked.
Deputy Foreign Minister and Acting Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) said the move would help solve the illegal African migration problem, arguing that Africans would be less motivated to come to Israel if there were no jobs to be found.
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