Young Malawians sent to Israel’s deserted farms

Several hundred young Malawians have left for Israel to work on farms deserted in the wake of Hamas attacks and the bombardment of Gaza, the Malawian government announced on Monday November 27.
A first flight carrying 221 young men left Malawi for Israel on Saturday, announced the Ministry of Labor of the small southern African country, adding that others would soon follow suit. Thousands of agricultural workers have left Israel’s farms, an important sector of the country’s economy, since the Hamas attacks of October 7, which triggered a massive Israeli bombardment of Gaza in retaliation.
Some were foreigners who returned to their countries of origin. Others were Palestinians from Gaza who had their Israeli work permits revoked after the Hamas attacks. Some of the foreign workers were among the 239 people taken hostage on October 7 by Hamas, according to Israel.
According to Malawi’s Minister of Labor, Wezi Kayira, Israel is one of the countries targeted by a government program designed to find work for its young people abroad and thereby enable the country to receive much-needed foreign currency. Mr. Kayira stressed his government’s commitment to guaranteeing the safety of young Malawians sent to Israel, assuring that they would work in certified “safe” workplaces.
The departures come just two weeks after Israel granted $60 million in aid to Malawi, which is battling an economic crisis. The Malawian government has been criticized by human rights activists for the way in which the agreement was sealed.
Malawi has forged close ties with Israel over the years, while other African countries are more radical in their defence of Palestinian rights. In the past, it has sent agricultural graduates to Israel. Shortly after taking office in 2021, President Lazarus Chakwera announced the opening of a Malawian embassy in Israel, the first in decades for an African country in the disputed city.