I’ve been working in Yafiz, Rami Levy Co., Sha’ar Binyamin with Arabs for almost four years. My fellow staff and the customers are Jewish Israeli and Arab. Some of the Arabs have Israeli papers, and some don’t. We all get the same low salary for the same sort of work. And the customers pay the same low prices for the clothes and food sold by the Rami Levy conglomerate. This is not the “Israel’ one sees in the international media or big hot-aired conferences.
You’d be surprised at how many of us, Jews and Arabs, have academic degrees, advanced training and certification, though we’re working at the lowest salary level legal in Israel. Yes, I’m among them. You’d expect the professional, academically trained Arabs to be working at good jobs in Arab cities or the P.A. or Gaza or wealthy Arab countries, rather than doing their best to hold to their low paying jobs in Sha’ar Binyamin.
In talking to some of our customers, I’ve discovered that salaries in the Arab cities here in Judea and Samaria are much, much lower than Israeli Minimum Wage. One man from an Arab city, who sometimes buys our clothes when we have “end of season clearance sales” to resell at his clothing store, wanted to know what our workers get paid. He told me how much he pays, and it’s a tiny fraction of the Israeli Minimum Wage salaries here.
An Arab woman who enjoyed speaking to me in English, because as she explained, she’s “…an English Teacher and needs the practice,” Rather naively, she told me that I could make great money if I would teach in a college in Jenin or Nablus. Needless to say, she ignored the fact that I wouldn’t make it home alive, but when she told me what the “great salary” would be, I was shocked. It’s pretty much the same as full-time Israeli Minimum Wage.
There’s a proven fact that many people insist on ignoring. Prior to the beginning of Zionism well over a hundred years ago, this area was pretty empty. Today’s cities were barely towns. Zionism brought the area to life, and that life, the economic opportunities, top medical care, modern infrastructure etc, not only attracted Jews, but it also attracted Arabs. A high percentage of the Arabs who live here today are descended from those to moved here after the advent of Zionism.
And another thing that the world prefers to ignore, the P.A. and Gazan Arab administrations are among the worst in the world. Gaza is a mess, not because of Israeli attacks but because of the Hamas administration. The local Gazans aren’t happy.
Now, as frustration mounts, many Gazans privately admit that the problem is not just the damage from the Israeli bombardment, but also the damage created by Hamas, the Islamic group that rules this coastal enclave……Despite the rosy public opinion polls, Hamas seems to be widely loathed in this coastal Mediterranean wasteland. Getting a quote, of course, is nearly impossible. (The Week)
Just some food for thought…