34 construction workers died in workplace accidents last year; this according to the official answer to the parliamentary query submitted by MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) following the alarming rise in work-related accidents in the field of construction. The reply, given to MK Khenin by Yariv Levin, the minister serving as a governmental go-between with the Knesset, indicated that for the entire construction industry in Israel, which employs approximately 200,000 workers, there are only 17 inspectors.
During 2015 alone, 34 construction workers were killed in work-related accidents and in total – according to statistics provided by the National Insurance Institute – 3,139 construction workers were injured on the job. “The official response to the query is outrageous,” said MK Khenin. “The query was directed specifically to the Minister for the Economy, and even if that minister is focused entirely on the gas deal and benefits for tycoons, he still bears ministerial responsibility for workers and their safety and the difficult matter of work-related accidents in general and specifically for work accidents in the construction industry. If the Minister for the Economy doesn’t see fit to make enough time even to respond to a parliamentary query in such a matter regarding human life, he’s not fit to continue in office.”
MK Khenin said that “the tragedy in the construction sector has gone on for too long. Every day, at every building site, construction workers are working in conditions that pose a tremendous danger to their lives, and the government is doing nothing.” Shockingly noteworthy is the fact that in January 2016 alone another 6 construction workers were killed on the job.
Following the rise in the number of those killed in work accidents in the construction industry, Hadash’s faction in the Histadrut has decided to demonstrate outside the Ministry for the Economy and demand the resignation of the minister in charge — none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A spokesman for the faction, Itamar Avnery said, “For the government, these workers are invisible: Jewish workers from disadvantaged populations, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, Palestinians from the West Bank, and foreign workers, most of whom are employed as contract workers. Without protection, without rights! Next Tuesday, February 9, at 15:00 we shall protest in front of the Ministry for the Economy in Jerusalem and call upon the Minister for the Economy, Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to take responsibility and resign.”