Sunday, September 7, 2008

Savings vs Safety vs Ideology

I was inspired to write this after reading this post by Ricki's Mom.

A major controversy in Israel concerns the pros and cons of using Arab workers. There are Jewish Israelis who feel very unsafe with Arabs working in their homes and communities. There are those who agree, but are swayed by the immense savings in money. One of the reasons is that fewer Arab contractors and workers report all income and pay taxes. Of course, not all Jewish ones do either.

In the city, you can just decide whatever you want, but in yishuvim, which are closed communities, there are community rules and regulations. Some don't allow Arabs in at all, and others do but with restrictions. The Arabs are supposed to be guarded, easier said than done. Most of the time, more than one Arab is working on the job. How can you keep visual supervision over multiple workers?

There are a surprising amount of Arabs working all over Israel and not just in menial, manual labor. Many are doctors. The doctor in the Terem Clinic who examined my foot, after I was run over in the terror attack was an Arab. Restaurants, including the kosher ones, have many Arab workers. There was a female pharmacist in the drug store I used to patronize, until closed, and I'm pretty sure that the saleswoman who sold me my new blouse is Arab.

I'm not boycotting places which employ Arabs, but I'm also not bringing Arab workers home.


rickismom said...

I always try and hire Jewish help-- I feel much more comfortable- and besides, why should I not give a Jew my business? Here I only bought ceramics by the Arab because the "business connections" they had with my daughter's fiancees'father meant large savings. I would not hire an arab to work in my house. [Although at times in the past I have hired a Jew and HE brings the Arab. If he stays around, well, maybe OK. But sometimes the Jew walks off to another job he is suppervising and leaves me alone with the Arab!?!!!]

Batya said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

There's a difference between buying from and hiring Arabs and doing so with other non-Jews, provided they are not idol worshipers. Some rabbis say that according to Jewish law one must pay up to one third more for Jewish labor/products. Others say even more.
Dealing with the enemy who is trying to kill us and drive us off our Land is a totally different matter.
Giving money to an Arab, even if it is in a legal business transaction is funding terror.
Unfortunately we all buy products that have been produced partially by Arab labor, which is a big problem. Because of this we should try especially hard to avoid Arab products/labor when we have a choice.
Insist on Jewish labor! It is possible! Ask the Zuldens from Kedumim. Their building company - yes, they build entire houses - gradually switched to all Jewish labor and it is still making a profit.
And if you need something done urgently and can't find a Jew to do it, insist that the contractor use foreign workers.
Don't fund terror!
Mazal tov to rickismom and her daughter!
Is the bathroom fixed yet? I didn't have time to read the entire post.

Batya said...

Hadassa, good points. There are more and more young Jews going into construction, B"H.