Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


West Bank Labor Pains

Palestinian workers governed by Jordanian laws, weaker than Israel’s

Print Email

The Israeli settlement Ma’aleh Adumim, which operates as an independent municipality in the West Bank, is expected to be incorporated into Israel in any two-state solution. Home to about 30,000 residents, 99.8 percent of whom are Jews, Ma’aleh Adumin is the settlement that Israelis pointed to the most when arguing against the Obama administration’s now-scuttled “settlement freeze” policy. How can any government stop a city that big from growing? And although the city is all but a de facto Israeli possession, a little discussed problem is how its vanishingly small Palestinian population is governed by a different set of labor laws. Jordan has been responsible for administering labor legislation in the occupied territories since 1965. So the 80 members of the Jahleen Bedouin tribe, who are technically Ma’aleh Adumin citizens, still answer to those policies with respect to their employment. As a result, Palestinians in Ma’aleh Adumin don’t receive the same benefits as Israelis do when it comes to rehabilitation pay, pensions, travel expenses, education funding, and religious dispensations. (It didn’t help that they all signed a separate agreement in 2005 with the municipal authorities reaffirming their alien work status.) In recent weeks, a number of Bedouin workers went on strike after their request for time off to attend Muslim Friday prayers was denied—a right that Arab Israelis enjoy under the more liberal Israeli labor law. “We are not trying to avoid the image of a settlement—this is an image that does not exist,” Eli Har-Nir, the director of the municipality who fired three of the workers, told Haaretz. Roughly translated: 80 Palestinians aren’t worth re-writing the municipal code.

in Ma’aleh Adumim Employed by Israel But on Jordanian Terms

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

West Bank Labor Pains

Palestinian workers governed by Jordanian laws, weaker than Israel’s

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.