The Washington Post reported Monday:
Jordan and Israel have launched a pilot project that is so small and simultaneously so ambitious that it tells the story.Talkbacks to an article about this in Jordan's Ammon News were mixed. While some bemoaned the "normalization" and how low they have sunk to have to work in Israel (whose minimum wage is higher than the average Jordanian salary.)
For the past six months, very quietly, Israel has been allowing Jordanians to cross the border to its Red Sea resort to work minimum-wage jobs at hotels.
The first 700 of 1,500 have started.
So far, nothing bad has happened.
“The Jordanians need work, and we need workers,” said the head of the Eilat Hotel Association, Shabtai Shay.
Getting the Jordanians work permits to cross the border from Aqaba to Eilat took three years of negotiations with 10 Israeli ministries, he said.
“It was mission impossible,” Shay said.
On the Israeli side, there were concerns about security, vetting, the checkpoint, unions, the hours and how Israeli tourists would feel about being attended — even behind the scenes — by service workers who were Muslims from the Hashemite kingdom.
But others have been more practical,
One said that the workers want a dignified life and not to have to beg for sustenance, and they should take the best option for their livelihoods rather than worry about people who insult them and have no other solutions.
Another said that he had a degree in physical therapy but had to work in Gulf hotels because of a shortage of jobs in Jordan, so the workers should not be criticized.
While there are a lot of very noisy Arabs who are quick to loudly criticize everything that has anything to do with Israel, there has always been a silent majority who care far more about raising their families in dignity than about theoretical problems with Jews in the Middle East. Unfortunately we hardly ever hear from them - even though they are the keys to real peace.
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