Lessons of the Holocaust

Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv

Wednesday December 24, 2003



Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.

According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women — including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.


The labourers are also forbidden from engaging in any religious or political activity. The contract states that offenders 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 allowed the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a “social timebomb” caused by their assimilation with Israelis.


Analysts say there is much division within Israeli society over immigration and status, although the conflict with the Palestinians has given it an appearance of unity. Recent immigrants such as Russians and Ethiopians are disliked by older immigrants, and there is much resentment among secular Israelis at the privileges given to ultra-orthodox Jews. The foreign workers are at the bottom of the pile.

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