China has agreed for thousands of migrant construction labourers to work in Israel in a bid to alleviate a housing crisis the Israeli government said yesterday.
Beijing and Jerusalem are in the final stage of forging a deal to let 20,000 Chinese construction workers come to Israel over the next few years.
The deal was sealed by an Israeli delegation, which left for China on Monday, that included the Finance Ministry's housing chief, Avigdor Yitzhaki, and the Construction and Housing Ministry's Director General, Asher Armoni.
Outlining details of the deal, Haaretz commented that workers would arrive in several groups. The first group of 4,000 workers would arrive within the next six months. Dates however have not been set.
Middle East Online quoted Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon as saying the arrival of the Chinese workers would "energise efforts to solve the housing crisis".
Housing costs in Israel have been rising steeply since 2008, according to Bank of Israel data, significantly impacting the cost of living and triggering a wave of street protests in 2011.