Farmers ramp up their protests across the country

"Unless gov’t finds us 4,000 workers, we’ll keep up strike."

Farmers protest 311 (photo credit: Gilad Livni)
Farmers protest 311
(photo credit: Gilad Livni)
A day after farmers stopped supplying fruits and vegetables to markets across the country in protest of the government’s decision to reduce the number of foreign workers in the agriculture sector, demonstrations intensified on Monday.
After a morning protest at the Arava junction, which caused road congestion, the farmers held simultaneous demonstrations at several locations across the country.
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Dozens of farmers arrived at the Ahituv junction in Emek Hefer, while about 200 farmers from Eshkol, Sdot Negev and the Ramat Negev Regional Councils demonstrated at the Netivot junction, which was blocked for a short period.
Other protests were held at the Ahva junction, the Ram junction in the western Negev, and several other locations.
Protesters in Emek Hefer carried signs with statements such as “Rich salad – only for the rich,” and “Reducing the quota of foreign workers – a death sentence for agriculture.”
The farmers brought along bags of tangerines, which they distributed to passersby, and the Ahituv junction recorded exceptional traffic in both directions.
Among other issues, the farmers are protesting the shortage of 4,000 foreign workers in the agricultural sector. They are demanding that the government uphold an agreement that the number of workers be increased from 22,000 to 26,000 as promised.
“The government promised us the workers a year and a half ago and never delivered.
Why should we believe them now?” Avshalom Vilan, secretary- general of the Israeli Farmers Federation, asked on Sunday.
“The strike has begun and will continue for the next three days. Unless the government can find a way to bring 4,000 workers in the next two days, we won’t change our decision,” he said.