The first Jordanians to be employed in Israel under a recent bilateral agreement began working in Eilat hotels on Thursday.
Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevi and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom greeted the group of 172 at the Aqaba border. Shalom was the driving force behind the plan, which calls for hotels in the southern resort city to hire up to 1,500 Jordanians. Most of them will replace African asylum seekers in the jobs.
“This is a holiday for Israel-Jordan cooperation, for both peoples, for Eilat,” Shalom said, adding that the plan will “improve service in Eilat hotels and keep illegal infiltrators from working.”
Halevi lauded the cooperation between Eilat and Aqaba in areas including tourism and environmental protection, it will help the region will flourish, “and that’s good for us all.”
The plan was approved by the cabinet in June 2014. The Jordanians will return to their homes across the border after every shift.
An additional 328 Jordanians are to be hired within a few days, and 1,000 more within weeks. Day visas will be issued only for certain jobs, mainly those Israelis tend to avoid such as cleaning and washing dishes.