Israeli Company Pricing Cleaners by Ethnicity Sparks Online Furor

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A photo of the leaflet, posted by Tal Schneider on Facebook.
A photo of the leaflet, posted by Tal Schneider on Facebook.Credit: Tal Schneider / Facebook

A leaflet advertising a cleaning service has caused an online uproar on Friday, as it appeared to offer varying rates according to the ethnicity of the cleaner.

According to the leaflet, a photo of which was posted on Facebook by Israeli journalist and blogger Tal Schneider, the rate for hiring an African cleaning woman was 49 shekels an hour ($12.6), while a cleaner from eastern Europe was slightly costlier at 52 shekels ($13.4).

Most expensive was an eastern European cleaner with Israeli citizenship, costing 69 shekels an hour ($17.7).

The leaflet, which was handed out in affluent north Tel Aviv, promised that all the service's employees had the proper permits, so customers would not risk incurring any fines for hiring them. "Don't want to hire an Arab for security reasons? Tired of being legal employers and getting sued by any passing worker? There's a solution," the leaflet reads.

In her Facebook post, Schneider wrote: "Outspoken racism is seeping into Israeli society. Pricing employees according to race. Admit that you haven't thought of that yet. Israel 2016." 

The post raked over 3,000 Likes and was shared nearly 600 times by Saturday afternoon. Most of the over 500 comments on the original post expressed shock and dismay. "I'm not sure if the leaflet is more racist, misogynistic or just repulsive," one commenter wrote, while another sufficed with a succinct "Yuck." 

An employee of the cleaning service told the Israeli website Mako that the different rates were not illegal. "I don't handle the rates, but I know that women from eastern Europe are better workers," she told Mako. 

The leaflet indicated no company name but only gave the phone number for someone called Irena.

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