Israel is now in talks with the Philippine government for the possible hiring of an additional 1,000 Filipino workers to beef up its health care institutions for the elderly.
According to Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz, they came to realize the need for more Filipino health care workers following the outbreak of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic in February this year.
“The (Israel) government decided for the first time to open it to Filipino workers to work in the geriatric institute. We proposed we need at least 1,000 Filipinos if the (Philippine) government will agree for them to come and work in Israel. it’s government to government,” Harpaz said during an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin on Wednesday.
There are currently an estimated 30,000 OFWs in Israel, mostly employed as caregivers as well as in other levels of the service industry.
The Israeli envoy explained that Filipinos previously hired as caregivers can only work in the residence of elderly people and people with disabilities and cannot work as ‘yayas’ or nannies.
He said OFWs in Israel are treated well and receive a monthly salary of somewhere between US$1,500 to US$2,000, depending on if they work for extra hours.
While thousands of OFWs have been repatriated back to the Philippines following the outbreak of the pandemic, no Filipino has been brought back home from Israel.
“We can take good care of them (OFWs), they are paid well, there are no lay-offs, they get medical services like us when it comes to COVID-19 and they are taking care of our beloved people, our parents, and grandparents,” the Israeli diplomat said.
While there are reports of Filipinos infected with COVID-19 in Israel, Harpas assured that all of them are being treated and getting all the necessary medical and supplies assistance from the government.
As of today, Israel has a total of over 170,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 123,000 recoveries and 1,165 fatalities.