Foreign Workers in Israel

Global Perspectives

By Israel Drori

Subjects: Israel Studies, Sociology Of Work, Labor Economics, Public Policy
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791476901, 256 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9780791476895, 256 pages, January 2009

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Table of contents

Figures and Tables
1. Introduction
The Challenge of Labor Migration Policies
Israel: Its Major Dilemmas and Recent Labor Migration
A Note on the Objectives of This Book
Organization of This Book
2. Labor Migration in Israel: Theoretical Context
Theoretical Discussion of Labor Migration
The Theoretical Context of the Israeli Case: The Threat Argument
The Context of the Israeli Case: The Ethnic Identity Argument
3. The Evolution of Government Policies and the Migrant Labor Employment System
The Legal Framework
Policy: The History of System of Entry Permits
The Formation of the Employment System
4. Employment Practices: The System of Placement Agencies
System of Employment
Skewed Practices
Testimony: A Day of Negotiations on Behalf of Workers at Kav La’Oved
5. Living and Working as Non-Israelis: Filipino Caregivers
Social and Employment Networks
The Filipina Community in Israel
Breaking out of the Legal Network
6. Thai Agricultural Workers
The Employment System
The Social Environment of Work
Wages and Welfare
7. Rumanian Construction Workers
Work System and Cycle
Mechanism of Control
8. Illegal Labor Migrants: Life and Work on the Run
Working Life
Modes of Incorporation of Labor Migrants: The Case of Their Children
9. Deportation
Deportation: Process and Practices
The Implications of the Politics of Deportation
The Implications for Labor Migrants
10. The Rhythm of Policy and the Employment System
The Reconstitution of the Institutional
Environment and the Employment System
The Rhythm of Policies
Modes of Integration
11. Labor Migration Policies and National Identity
The Consequences of Policy
The Legacy of a “Defensive” Nation
The Effect of Citizenship on Rights to Enter, Work, and Reside in Israel

Explores how the entry of migrant workers into Israel raises questions beyond just those of the labor market.


In this account of a social experiment gone awry, Israel Drori exposes a little-known and recent phenomenon: the importation of foreign workers from Third World economies to Israel. Focusing on Romanian, Thai, and Filipina migrants brought to Israel for specified periods of employment, Drori examines the effect of migrants on Israeli society, particularly the issue of national identity. What began as a political corrective—avoiding the danger of hiring Palestinians to do work that Jewish Israelis would not—has developed into a social and economic problem the state does not know how to handle. In addition to examining the work experiences and social lives of these workers, Drori also situates the Israeli case within a global context, where many affluent nations have significant populations of marginalized, undocumented workers.

Israel Drori is Professor at the School of Business Administration, College of Management, Israel, and also teaches at the Department of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Seam Line: Arab Workers and Jewish Managers in the Israeli Textile Industry and coauthor (with Izhak Schnell and Michael Sofer) of Arab Industrialization in Israel: Ethnic Entrepreneurship in the Periphery.


"Drori explores critical issues. Especially because many of these workers are illegal, from as far away as China, Thailand, and the Philippines, the state offers them no protection, and they are often exploited. " — Jewish Book World