On Saturday morning, the Imam in the mosque invited residents of Jalbun to attend Kav LaOved’s workshop at the local council. Each day, close to 200 men and 30 women from the village of Jalbun go to work in Israeli construction sites, factories and farms. Many of these workers regularly encounter unsafe working conditions, accept dangerous commands from their managers, and are not given the opportunity to question hazardous working conditions or demand their rights.

Over the past three years, 4 residents of the village died while at work on Israeli construction sites, with the last fatal accident taking place only two weeks ago. Kav LaOved came to Jalbun in order to hold a discussion with the workers about safety rights at work and hopefully to prevent the next disaster.

KLO spoke about the responsibility of workers to take care of themselves and insist on safe working conditions from their employer, how to avoid dangerous working conditions even when under pressure (or when safety requirements are considered redundant or unnecessary by their employers). KLO instructed the workers that it is their duty to demand safety equipment while working.

In the second half of the meeting, KLO and the workers discussed the disturbing magnitude of the illegal yet growing phenomenon of “brokerage fees”. 90% of workers in the village of Jalbun employed by Israelis are forced to pay large portions of their salaries to middlemen who “arrange work permits for them.” With Israeli industries such as construction in need of labor and Palestinians in need of work there should be no reason Palestinians should have to “purchase” their right to simply to be employed.

Protecting workers from harm and exploitation is Kav LaOved’s overriding goal, and the people of Jalbun are people worth fighting for!