Bibi Netnayahu reminds me of the quintessential Eastern European Jewish peddler traipsing the countryside selling just about anything anyone would pay a kopek to buy. You want a hair brush? I’ve got one. A rooster? Got one of those too. A bridegroom for your daughter? Nothing is too small for his valued customers.
Recently the prime minister went on such a peddling trip (Hebrew) to the Balkans where he hondeled with the leaders of Bulgarian and Romania like a Jewish peddler of yore. Bibi needed something from them: their vote against Palestinian statehood come September. But what could he give in return? What item of special value could he offer in return for buying their vote? Keep in mind that these are extremely poor countries largely reliant on remissions from nationals working overseas.
Of course! Israel can increase the numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian temporary workers it admits thus solving a double-edge problem: Israel gets cheap Eastern European labor; Bulgarian and Romanian workers earn a far better wage than they might find at home. Not that they’ll be treated all that well as Israel is notorious for its abuse of foreign labor. But most importantly Israel has bought two cheap votes come September.
That’s how Israel does politics on the international stage. It doesn’t pay retail. It buys countries and pays wholesale prices like any smart peddler would. The price? An additional 1,000 work permits for each country. Imagine how little UN votes are going for these days? If I were Ban Ki Moon, I’d complain that my merchandise was valued so cheaply. Since these 2,000 work permits won’t be allowed to increase the overall number of foreign workers inside Israel, who gets the shaft? Why workers from those countries which haven’t shown as much “friendliness” to Israel’s position in the UN, of course. The article doesn’t say who’s out of luck. Suffice to say, you don’t play ball with Bibi and he’ll send your working stiffs packing.