China is fed up with Israel’s negligence at construction sites

A Chinese construction worker in Tel Aviv. (photo: Tomer Appelbaum / Haaretz)

Given the wave of racism swamping Israel, it’s hard to imagine public pressure ending the careless disregard; as long as it’s not Jews, who cares that dozens of workers are killed every year?

By Editorial | Haaretz | May 31, 2018

Chinese inspectors only work on sites where Chinese citizens are employed. On the sites excluded by China, no government — certainly not Israel’s — protects the workers properly.

Only a combination of greed and racism can explain the numerous fatalities on Israeli construction sites and the indifference with which these incidents are received. On Wednesday a worker was killed on a building site in Bnei Brak operated by Yesh Lee Or Construction. The man, who was identified as Munir Salah, was the 17th person to die this year in a construction-site accident.

Three weeks ago, a worker from China died in an accident on a Shikun & Binui construction site in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim industrial park. He was the second Chinese building-site fatality in Israel this year. The government in Beijing, outraged over the frequent deaths of Chinese laborers working in Israel, has barred 36 Israeli building projects from employing its nationals.

Apparently Israel is notorious for its poor workplace-safety record, so in the agreement signed some 18 months ago to bring around 20,000 construction workers to Israel, China insisted on individually approving each building site. To Israel’s disgrace, the safety situation on its construction sites is so bad, supervision and deterrence so poor, that China hired four inspectors of its own.

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