For many, the crisis is over, but for others, this is far from the case: people have been killed, trust has been broken and soul searching about the truth behind the events has only just begun. This wave of violence has taken a very heavy personal and social toll whose impact is just beginning to appear. In the general chaos, workers in Israel have suffered direct and indirect injuries - in a crisis it is very easy to forget them, their needs and their safety. In the war that just ended, Palestinian citizens of Israel were threatened with dismissal because they went on strike or voiced their protest against Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem and Gaza; migrant workers paid for their employers’ and the State’s neglect with their lives and health; many workers could not leave their homes to go to work and saw their livelihoods affected. Those on the ground have spoken and we listened, supporting the workers during this war, as always.
Political persecution of Palestinian workers who are Israeli Citizens: At the onset of this recent wave of violence, state representatives were quick to issue a statement asking workers not to express political positions on various platforms. This political persecution was quickly translated into practice, and no one was surprised. Kav LaOved was approached by several workers who were summoned to a hearing before dismissal due to social media posts protesting the violence in Jerusalem - in Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa, in Gaza and in the West Bank. Among these were Ministry of Health employees who were summoned to a hearing after being singled out by self-appointed “thought police” on social media. Other Palestinian Israeli workers were summoned to a hearing following their participation in a one-day strike organized by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel on May 18th. Our lawyers have handled the cases of about ten workers, advised them and stood by their side to thwart attempts to fire them. So far, they have succeeded in preventing the dismissal of these workers, but hearings and other worrying developments continue.
The writing was on the wall and migrant workers paid the horrible price of neglect with their lives: Three of the 12 civilian fatalities caused by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip were migrant workers. The first fatality was Soumya Santhosh, a caregiver from India, whose employer’s house had no safe space. Her employer was seriously injured. A week later, on the 18th of May, two migrant agricultural workers from Thailand, Weerawat Karunborirak and Sikarin Sa-ngamrum, who were employed at Moshav Ohad were killed. Eight of their fellow workers were injured. In May 2019, Kav LaOved had alerted the authorities regarding the fact that workers’ safety during conflict situations was not guaranteed as they are regularly sent to work in the fields contrary to official guidelines. We detailed the names of locations where workers’ safety was being neglected and demanded immediate enforcement efforts, including revoking these employers’ permits to employ migrant workers. More recently, we appealed again to the authorities, including government ministers, to provide vital information during escalations in conflict in the workers' native languages to ensure their safety, and to step up enforcement against employers who simply ignore regulations—for example, employers who house their workers in unprotected buildings or send them to work in the field while missiles are flying over their heads. Unfortunately, nothing was done, and workers have paid with their lives as well as their physical and mental health.
The enforcement of workers' rights in Israel is very poor, both in times of crisis and during more peaceful periods. Statistics published by KLO in May, on International Workers Day, indicate a marked decline in the enforcement of workers' rights this past year during the Covid-19 pandemic. This decline is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor’s Enforcement Administration. Indifference is outrageous and we at Kav LaOved see the results during worker reception hours.
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Kav LaOved

Picture at Top: Members of the KLO program team at work with Adi Maoz, KLO Director. Together, we are working to heal the newly opened wounds and move forward to the future we deserve as individuals and as a team.