Here's an example of a boycott of a country because of its policy - the Foreign Ministry wants to revoke the work permits of around 800 Turkish construction workers due to their country's policy. Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz on Wednesday that the reason for the ministry's intention to revoke the workers' visas and deport them is political.
These laborers have been working in Israel for several years as part of a security agreement between the Israeli and Turkish defense ministries. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who objects to resolving the diplomatic crisis with Turkey via an apology for last year's flotilla events, wants to put economic and political pressure on Ankara by opposing an extension of the workers' visas. This is exactly what various international companies want to do to Israel - exert economic pressure on it by imposing boycotts and sanctions to make it change its policy.
Israel must be the last to dare use the boycott weapon now. It can't preach to the world not to use it while using it itself against a government or state because of its policy. Instead of doing everything possible to rehabilitate our relations with Turkey, the foreign minister - whose duty is to improve Israel's foreign relations, not destroy them - is trying to damage the atmosphere between the two countries even further.
Our relations with Turkey are strategic, and Israel has benefited from them for years. Officials in the Defense Ministry, which knows the depth and extent of our security relations with Turkey, are aware of the need to resolve the crisis, not exacerbate it. For this reason, the ministry objects to the foreign minister's position.
In the coming days, the issue of the Turkish laborers will be brought to the cabinet for debate. Hopefully the ministers will prevent Lieberman from doing what he wants and will extend the Turkish construction workers' visas. Israel's construction industry needs them, and its failing foreign policy needs them. The last thing Israel needs is another aggravation of our relations with Turkey due to the expulsion of a few hundred workers.
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