Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



East European workers replacing Palestinians on Israel’s building sites

Israel’s Builders

Roy Arad, LRB blog

During Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Eastern Europe in the summer, the governments of Romania and Bulgaria agreed not to vote in favour of the Palestinian state at the UN. Israel has since arranged several thousand work permits for Romanian and Bulgarian builders. This is supposedly a win-win deal that shows the creativity of the Netanyahu government (he also suggested replacing striking Israeli doctors with physicians from India). On the one hand, Israel wants to speed up cheap construction to solve its housing crisis. On the other, Romania and Bulgaria will earn foreign currency and reduce unemployment. The deal will also strengthen Israel’s ties with Turkey’s European neighbours.

When my grandfather Hezi Holdengerber arrived in Israel from Romania after the Holocaust, he and his brothers built roofs together. Now Jews work in construction only as bosses or engineers. Half of Israel’s construction workers are Arab citizens of Israel; the other half are Chinese or Palestinian, some of whom are likely to lose their jobs under the new agreements.

More construction workers have died in Israel in the past decade than Israelis died in the wars with Gaza and Lebanon. But since the dead are Arab, Palestinian or Chinese, they don’t get much attention from the mainstream Israeli press. Hasan Sholi, a safety guide from the Arab village of Kabul in northern Israel (it’s mentioned in the Bible, the village that Solomon gave to Hiram of Tyre in exchange for help with building the Temple), is doing what he can to tackle the problem. His Facebook page is the only place where all the accidents are noted and listed. On average, someone falls from a great height on a construction site in Israel every 22 minutes. Between January and November this year, 33 workers died, compared to 23 in 2010. In Britain there are 2.4 deaths for every 100,000 workers. In Israel the figure is about 15. Twenty inspectors supervise 20,000 building sites and 200,000 labourers. And when a labourer dies, his employer never goes to jail.

Sholi says the arrival of the workers from Eastern Europe will only make matters worse. They do not know the Israeli safety protocols and it will be difficult to teach them. ‘What can you do,’ he says. ‘Hasan Sholi doesn’t speak Bulgarian.’

1. Pennywhistler says:
1 January 2012 at 1:03 am
“More construction workers have died in Israel in the past decade than Israelis died in the wars with Gaza and Lebanon. ”
An estimated 5 million people work in China’s coal-mining industry. As many as 20,000 miners die in accidents each year. And that’s more than all the Chinese soldiers killed in battle since 1960.
Jes’ sayin’.
The number of deaths per million ton of coal in China is about 100 times of that of the U.S., 30 times of that of South Africa, and 10 times of that of India. And that is more deaths than all the Indian soldiers killed since 1960. Jes’ sayin.
And mine deaths are on the rise in South Africa. Last year, 63 people were killed on South Africa’s gold mines, which was a 22% drop from the 81 deaths in 2009.
Jes’ sayin.
Give me time and I will find a way to tie the Palestinians into all this. I swear!

2. Harry Stopes says:
5 January 2012 at 2:23 pm
Pennywhistler, China and South Africa (for the latter of which, incidentally, your statistics suggest a fall not a rise in miner deaths) are not the biggest recipients of military, economic and diplomatic support from the world’s richest and most powerful nation. Might that go some way to explaining the (supposed) focus?

Print Friendly

1 comment to East European workers replacing Palestinians on Israel’s building sites