Indian workers in Israel: 5,020 men from Uttar Pradesh make the cut

The menhave been selected from among 7,094 candidates who applied for skilled labour jobs in Israel

A testing session in progress (photo: @naba_pix/X)
A testing session in progress (photo: @naba_pix/X)
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NH Digital

A total of 5,020 persons have been selected from among 7,094 candidates who applied for skilled labour jobs in war-torn Israel, as part of an agreement between the government of Israel and the Indian government. Israel has been facing a labour shortage owing to the war in Gaza, which resulted in work permits of Palestinians being cancelled.

On 21 December 2023, India had said it had not held any discussion with Israel on the possibility of Indian workers replacing Palestinian labourers in that country.

Following a phone conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli readout had said the two leaders discussed "advancing the arrival of foreign workers from India to the State of Israel".

On 20 December, a senior executive of the Israel Builders Association said a team of "selectors" from Israel had visited India last week and another senior delegation would leave for India next week to begin the process of recruiting thousands of workers to be taken to Israel to fill the acute shortage faced by its construction industry in the wake of work permits for all Palestinians being cancelled owing to the Israel-Hamas war.

"Let me clarify what we said in Parliament and what we said in Parliament stands," ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at his weekly media briefing when asked about the issue in December.

Bagchi was referring to a statement on the matter from minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan in Parliament on 14 December. "The government has not had any discussion with Israel regarding possible replacement of Palestinian labourers with Indian workers," Muraleedharan said in the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, during a week-long process beginning on 23 January at ITI Aliganj, the skill of the applicants was tested in the presence of a team from the Israeli government in collaboration with the National Skill Development Council (NSDC). The selected men qualified to work as masons for plastering work and ceramic tiling and other such jobs.

The test of skilled workers was inspected from time-to-time by Kunal Silku, special secretary, labour and director, training and employment, Uttar Pradesh.

Silku said, "This drive was conducted in Uttar Pradesh following the direction of the chief minister. More than 5,000 workers have been selected for Israel. I wish them success."

The recruitment drive was carried out following an MoU signed between the government of India and the government of Israel. "The skill test of workers was taken by the Israeli team at Government ITI Aliganj, from 23 to 30 January for employment at a salary of Rs 1.37 lakh per month. The skill test was successfully completed on Tuesday," said Raj Kumar Yadav, principal, ITI Aliganj.

Yadav said, "The Israeli team praised our efforts highly. They said that if in future we need more skilled workers, then we will make ITI Aliganj, Lucknow, the examination centre."

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