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25 Oct 2023

By Lin Taylor, Mariejo Ramos and Chaiyot Yongcharoenchai, Thomson Reuters Foundation (UK)

Caught up in war, Israel's migrant workers face tough choices

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…while many migrant workers and relatives back home fear for their safety if they stay in Israel, some said they cannot afford to give up their jobs.

… a Filipino housekeeper who arrived in Israel in June 2022, told Context she had to keep working to pay off a loan of 200,000 Philippine pesos ($3,527) which she used to pay local recruiters and other expenses.

Though the tourism industry has ground to a virtual standstill, Yape said she had been working non-stop since the war erupted - cleaning rooms in hotels that were hosting Israelis evacuated from communities near the Gaza Strip.

"We were cleaning more rooms than before even though we were afraid. The only people you would see on the street at night were workers like us," she said by phone from the southern resort town of Eilat…

"They want me to go back, but how could I? I would return with no savings and still have debts to pay. There's no way I'd allow that to happen," he said…

In parts of the country under rocket fire from Hamas fighters in Gaza or Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, a virtual shutdown of the economy has left many migrants without work…