Economic Cabinet Votes to Prohibit Arab Workers in Yehudah and Shomron From Entering Israel

By Matis Glenn

Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich during a plenum session at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 6, 2023. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Social and Economic Cabinet, led by Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich, voted Sunday to continue the country’s ban on Arab workers entering Israel from Yehudah and Shomron.

Israel prohibited all Arabs living in Yehudah and Shomron, who previously had work permits, from entering Israel for security purposes following the October 7 massacre.

However, a significant number of lawmakers have voiced their opinion that work permits need to be reinstated, albeit under strict guidelines and limited numbers, as the country is facing a construction and labor shortage.

Smotrich said in a statement that the decision highlights the idea that it is “forbidden to continue what was.”

“Money and building permits do not buy peace,” Smotrich continued. “Whoever kills us when he has no money will kill us when he has money. The security of the citizens of Israel comes first and we recommend to the Security Political Cabinet not to approve the entry of workers. We can and should promote alternatives that will provide a different solution to the economy.”

Foreign workers have been contracted to work in Israel, but it will be several months before they arrive.

The cabinet, formed to decide economic issues in the wake of October 7 and the resultant war, will submit its decision to the war cabinet.

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