TRAVEL GAZETTE – Israeli authorities have authorized the employment of 500 Jordanian foreign workers in a resort town in Israel’s southern resort town of Eilat.
The move is part of a larger project in which Israeli ministries are overseeing the gradual employment of Jordanian foreign workers in Eilat, about six km west of Aqaba in Jordan.
The Israeli government authorized in June 2014 the employment of up to overall 1,500 Jordanian workers in hotels in Eilat, in order to help with lack of personnel, working as cleaners, maids and dishwashers.
The need for employees stems from the instability of this workforce, made mostly of temporary African migrants who are facing difficulties to stay in Israel, and just prior to the busy summer season.
After the government’s decision, a committee consisting of members from the interior, tourism, finance and foreign ministries and a representative from the Prime Minister’s office was established to oversee the project. Since then, 400 Jordanians started working in Eilat.
There are about 12,000 hotel rooms in Eilat, according to figures by the Tourism Ministry.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who has the authority to allocate the work permits, said on Monday that the Jordanian workers employed in Eilat so far have “proven the success of the project and their contribution to the branch.”
He also said that this arrangement constitutes an “important contribution both to the Israeli economy” and the relations between both countries, according to a statement from his office.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 with cooperation and infrastructure projects, like an Israeli-Jordanian natural gas pipeline, as well as close security cooperation.
The relationship has been mired amid unrest in October 2015 around a contested site of Temple Mount, a flashpoint site holy to both Jews and Muslims in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied from Jordan in 1967 Mideast War.
Jordan has joint supervision of the site, following the 1994 peace agreement.
The wave of unrest in East Jerusalem had spread to a wave of violence some pundits refer to as the third Palestinian intifada (armed uprising) throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
About 190 Palestinians and 28 Israelis have been killed in attacks in six months.
The wave of unrest, which Israel pins on Palestinian incitement, whereas the Palestinians charge it’s the result of Israel’s 49-years occupation of Palestinian territories, might also have an influence on Israel and Jordan’s relationship, where around three million people live.