By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Even amidst Israel –Hamas war in Gaza strip and evacuation of Sri Lankns working there, Sri Lankan worker migration to war torn country is to continue due to economic hardships in the island nation.
Israel’s Minister of Interior Moshe Arbel and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Israel Nimal Bandara have signed an agreement, which will allow Israel to immediately hire 10,000 Sri Lankan farm workers.
This follows Sri Lanka cabinet approval last week allowing Israeli companies to bring 5,000 workers to the country for the agricultural sector, Israeli media reported.
Israel’s agricultural sector has been hit hard by the war. Since October 7, some 8,000 foreign agricultural workers have fled Israel out of 30,000 foreign workers in the farming sector.
During the vicious attack on October 7, Hamas terrorists slaughtered dozens of foreign workers and took several dozen hostage in Gaza.
At the same time some 20,000 Palestinian agricultural workers have been banned from entering the country, the report said.
The first Sri Lankan agricultural workers within the framework of this agreement should arrive in the coming weeks.
There are already 4,500 workers from Sri Lanka employed in Israel, most of them working in the homecare sector.
Sri Lankans stranded in war ravaged areas in Israel are now being evacuated amidst severe transport difficulties, international media reported.
Foreign Affairs Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry appreciated the constructive role played by Qatar in opening the Rafah border crossing, which allowed hundreds of foreigners, including 11 Sri Lankans, to enter Egypt from the Gaza Strip.
While issuing a media release, the Minister thanked the State of Qatar, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, for its successful mediation efforts, paving the way for the release of many hostages.
During a meeting with Ali Hassan Alemadi, Charge d’Affaires of the Qatar Embassy in Colombo, the Foreign Minister conveyed Sri Lanka’s appreciation in this regard.
The evacuation of foreign passport holders and injured from Gaza through the Rafah crossing has reportedly paused since Saturday due to Israel’s targeting of an ambulance, official Egyptian sources told Reuters.
The shared crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the only way in and out of the Palestinian enclave, had opened up temporarily last week to allow the exit of hundreds of foreign passport holders and the critically wounded.
The crossing has been shut for regular traffic since the start of the war on October 7 following multiple Israeli attacks. Egypt said it requires to receive a green light from Tel Aviv to open the crossing.
On November 1, Rafah opened for the first time for evacuations following a reported Qatar-brokered deal with Egypt, Israel and Hamas, in coordination with the United States.