Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90

The Israeli Cabinet raised the quota of foreign workers for the agricultural sector by 10,000 on Sunday.

Israeli agriculture is facing staggering losses in production and manpower. Before October 7, Israel had 29,900 foreigners, mostly Thais, working in farms, orchards, greenhouses and packing plants. Nearly all have returned to Thailand.


Israeli workers who might have filled the gaps have been called up for military reserve duty.

Farmers also employed 10,000-20,000 PA Arabs depending on the season, but they are currently denied entry into Israel. Lawmakers from the Likud party have vowed to keep Palestinian Authority (PA) Arab workers out, saying they pose a security risk.

“This addition joins the increase of 9,000 foreign workers that was approved only a few months ago,” said Agriculture Minister Avi Dicther in a statement.

“Also, the addition will make it possible to reach a situation in the near future where a farmer in Israel will farm according to his needs and ability and not according to the quota of workers given to him,” Dichter added.

Many farms are located in evacuated areas near the Gaza Strip and Lebanese border. Around three-quarters of Israel’s vegetables were grown in the farms, kibbutzim and moshavim devastated by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

The Cabinet’s decision comes on the heels of a January 16 terror attack in the Israeli city of Ra’anana. Two PA Arabs identified as Mahmoud Zidat, 44, and his nephew, Ahmed, killed a 79-year-old woman and injured 16 others in a car-ramming and stabbing spree. The two, from the Hebron-area of village of Bani Naim, were working in a Ra’anana carwash even though Israel’s National Security Agency (Shin Bet) blacklisted them from entering Israel as security risks.

The owners of the carwash are currently under arrest.


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