Young Jewish families and immigrants cannot afford housing. The proper answer is not bringing Arab workers but implementing the two basic free market approaches. One, an owner of land – including agricultural land – can build on it without restrictions. Two, liability insurance must replace all permits; insurance companies, not government agencies should check safety of buildings. These two measures would decrease housing cost at least in half, probably closer to four times. But who cares to implement them? The bureaucracy wants regulatory power and bribes from contractors. The government wants the higher taxes from high-priced real estate. Contractors similarly receive higher profits on the higher prices. House owners are happy about inflationary rise of their property value.
Israeli contractors scream that ending the flow of Arab labor would increase the cost of construction. That’s nonsense. The labor costs account for less than $100 per square meter of the total price of $800-6,000. Using the more expensive Jewish labor won’t noticeably increase the real estate prices. If Arab labor is so cheap now, how come the apartments are so expensive? Zoning laws, especially the almost-impossible conversion of agricultural land keep land prices rising. A tremendous amount of regulations makes compliance increasingly expensive. The labor part of the overall cost doesn’t matter. The government can single-handedly offset the cost increase because of switching from the Palestinian labor with measures ranging from wider access for Thai workers to easing regulatory burden which will increase the amount of construction and drive prices down.
A major advantage of Arab workers for Israeli contractors is that Arabs fit into the black market economy. Many Arab workers take cash wages without the contractors’ paying taxes or benefits. The contractors prefer Arab employees also for the old adage, “Whoever buys himself a Jewish slave, buys a master for himself.” Arab workers are more amenable.
The low quality of Arab work has long become proverbial, but since rare customers have resources to sue negligent contractors, the latter do not care to hire diligent Jewish workers.
Israeli law demands that migrant workers from Palestine return home at night instead of staying in Israel to engage in terrorist acts. Many Arabs neglect that rule to avoid the long lines at checkpoints, and sleep at factories, warehouses, and in unfinished buildings. Small groups of concerned citizens can search out such illegal migrants and insistently report them to police, making sure that police act upon the information. Most Arabs will chose to remain in Fatah-land of the West Bank rather than spend hours every day traveling to work in Israel.
Arabs stay in Israel only because they can economically parasitize on Jews. Stop hiring them, stop buying from them, stop patronizing the establishments that hire them. They will move.