Report: Officials Recommend Hiring Illegal Workers to Help Elderly

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of Mishan Nursing Home in Holon. (Flash90)

At any given time, there are thousands of illegal foreign workers in Israel, and many of them work in the health care sector – and the National Security Council has recommended hiring these illegals to work in senior care facilities, where there is currently a major shortage of workers, Kan News reported.

The workers are often from Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines, and came to Israel to work as home health care aides to elderly Israelis. Visas are generally given to these workers for three years – or for the length of time that they are employed – after which they are supposed to return home. Many of those whose visas have expired are known to overstay their welcome, remaining in Israel because of the higher wages they can earn here than in their home countries.

It is those workers the Council recommends hiring to help out in senior facilities. Because of the higher risk to residents, facilities have implemented social distancing measures, such as giving residents in their rooms – requiring more staff to prepare and serve meals. Workers could fill in and help out in those and other jobs, the document says.

Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman this week appointed former Health Ministry Director-General Professor Roni Gamzu to supervise coronavirus-fighting efforts at senior citizen facilities in Israel, after infections that broke out at several facilities took the lives of significant numbers of residents. “Based on the idea that senior citizens need clear instructions and direction, we have decided to increase our efforts regarding this specific sector. Professor Gamzu has the experience and capabilities to carry this mission out, and I am sure he will ensure that the best care is provided to this group.”

More than 30 residents of senior facilities have died from the coronavirus, with the largest number at the Mishan senior living facility in Be’er Sheva, where 13 have passed away. Another nine died in the senior facility in the town of Yavne’el, and several others who have died were residents of facilities in Yerushalayim, Bnei Brak and Rechovot.