Hundreds of Jordanians are finding work in an unlikely place: Israel

Published May 17th, 2016 - 08:52 GMT
The southern Israeli city of Eilat. (photo: AFP/Menahem Kahane)
The southern Israeli city of Eilat. (photo: AFP/Menahem Kahane)

Hundreds of Jordanians are now finding work in an unlikely place. 

About 700 Jordanians have recently gotten jobs working in Israel, according to an article published Monday in The Washington Post. The Jordanian workers are part of a pilot program between Israel and Jordan designed to allow 1,500 Jordanians to get jobs in Israel, mostly as cleaners in hotels in the southern Israeli city of Eilat. 

Jewish Israelis vacationing in Eilat said they were surprised to see Jordanian workers in their hotels, and wanted to take selfies with them, the paper reported. 

The Jordanian workers are subject to many restrictions. They must leave Israel by 8pm. They can only work as cleaners, not as cooks, waiters or bartenders. And they are only allowed to bring one opened pack of cigarettes with them, because the Israeli government doesn’t want them smuggling cigarettes into Israel from Jordan, where a pack of smokes is significantly cheaper than it is in the Jewish state. 

Read the full article in Washington Post here

Jordan and Israel have been at peace since 1994, but residents often call it a “peace between governments,” not between people. Israelis rarely venture over the border to travel in Jordan, and when they do, they must be accompanied by a member of Jordan’s tourist police as an added precaution. 

On the other hand, many Jordanians do not go to Israel because the visa process itself is too expensive and time-consuming. Some Jordanians cannot travel to Israel even if they want to: about sixty percent of Jordan’s 6.5 million people are Palestinian or have Palestinian heritage, and Israel routinely denies visas for Palestinians.   


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