A new report published by Physicians for Human Rights (PHRI) and Kav LaOved – Workers Hotline reveals that Israel has been violating the rights of some 22,000 people who migrated from Thailand to Israel and work in the agricultural sector.
The report uncovers exploitative conditions including long working hours and squalid living conditions. In addition, the Thai workers are exposed to health hazards such as working with pesticides, heavy vehicles and tools, and working without sufficient regulation, supervision and law enforcement.
The report also notes that privatizing the health services of the farm workers, which puts the responsibility for their health to their employers and insurance companies, deepens their dependency on their employers and their vulnerability to healthcare abuses. Moreover, the health services have no staff who speak Thai, further exacerbating the situation.
The report concludes, “The contribution of labor migrants to the growth of agriculture in the country and the Israeli economy should not be underestimated – but it’s an almost invisible population, even in relation to the rest of the labor migrants living in Israel, which suffers from a disgraceful attitude from the authorities and employers.”