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Dec. 23, 2003. 02:18 PM
Avoid Israeli women, foreign workers told
FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS
JERUSALEM -- An Israeli company has required thousands of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with Israelis or try to convert them, a police spokesperson said today.
According to the document, male workers cannot come into contact with Israeli women -- including prostitutes -- become their lovers or marry them, spokesperson Rafi Yaffe said. He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and no investigation had been opened against the company.
The labourers are also forbidden in the contract from engaging in any religious or political activity. Those who violate the agreement will be sent back to China at their own expense.
About 260,000 foreigners work in Israel, having replaced Palestinian labourers during three years of fighting. When the government first began to allow the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a "social time bomb" caused by workers assimilating with Israelis.
More than half the workers are in the country illegally. Israeli police have increased efforts to deport those working without permits in light of high Israeli unemployment, which has reached 11 per cent in recent months.
Israeli advocates of foreign workers ﾑ who come also from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania ﾑ say they are held by employers in nearly slave-like conditions and their bosses frequently take their passports and refuse to pay them.
A spokesperson for the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry did not return calls requesting comment.