Chinese Construction Worker Killed in Israeli Port of Ashdod

30-year-old most likely falls from height as new port is being constructed by a Chinese infrastructure company; police, ministry exchange blame.

Pavel Tulchinsky

A Chinese worker in his 30s employed in construction of the new port at Ashdod was killed Sunday.

Police suspect that the cause of death was a fall from a height on the construction vessel where he was working, and are investigating.

Around 8 A.M., the Magen David Adom ambulance service received a report of an worker found unconscious on a construction vessel about 300 meters from the Ashdod shoreline. Paramedic Boris Levitan said his team could not reach the boat because of the sea conditions and that a tugboat brought the injured man to them. Levitan said the man had sustained a head injury and was already dead when he reached them.

The Economy Ministry, which investigates work accidents, said that a report of the fall was received from the police at 2:30 P.M., six hours after it occurred, and that the police said foul play was suspected. Therefore, the ministry said, an Economy Ministry inspector was not sent to the scene. However, the police deny this version of events, adding that while the police were still on the scene they reported the death to the Economy Ministry so the ministry could send an inspector.

The police also deny that they informed the Economy Ministry that they suspected foul play.

The new port is being constructed by a Chinese infrastructure company, China Harbor, at a cost of 3.6 billion shekels ($920 million). The Chinese company is represented in Israel by Nir Hefetz, a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the Economy Ministry portfolio.

The ministry did not respond for this report.