Joshua Leifer at n+1:
ON THE LAST DAY OF AUGUST, Benjamin Netanyahu, dressed in a wide navy suit and flanked by security guards, toured the muggy streets of south Tel Aviv. It had been several years since Netanyahu, whose net worth is an estimated $11 million, last visited the area, home to some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and where tens of thousands of refugees and migrant workers have settled since the 1990s. The purpose of the tour, according to Netanyahu’s office, was “to identify with the residents and to hear their distress.” By residents, Netanyahu did not mean the migrant workers and refugees. “Our task,” he declared, “is to return the area to the citizens of Israel.”
An estimated 38,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, live in Israel today. Together with around 100,000 migrant workers, mainly from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, they make up Israel’s population of non-Jewish migrants. Indian, Nepalese, Filipino, and Sri Lankan migrants work as home health aides for elderly Israelis and as domestic workers in Israeli households.