Israel trip day 10 - 20 December

This was a bit of an out of the ordinary day.  Up until now, we had focused on the delivery and payment of health services in Israel. This morning, we were dropped off near a local shopping area and walked to the offices of the Migrant Workers Hotline. We received an in-depth briefing from one of their senior staff on the plight of foreign workers who enter Israel to typically work in a variety of service or agricultural activities. There are over 100,000 legal migrant workers in Israel who are typically here from either the Philippines or China.  These workers are allowed to be in the country for up to five years if they have a contract from their employer who is responsible for purchasing health insurance for these workers. We learned that these workers can not become Israeli citizens even if their children are born in Israel. 

Another group we learned about were refugees, typically from Eritrea. Israel has a relatively open border to the non-Arab parts of Africa and many refugees enter the country by crossing into the Negev Desert. While the living conditions of the refugees is pretty sad, it is far better than what they left behind in Eritrea. Many of these people earn a living as a day laborer or in some cases, run their own businesses in an area close to the Central Bus Station. Walking through this area was certainly not something typically found in the tour books.

After our morning walk and post graduate education about a part of Israel most people don't think about, we stopped for lunch and then gave everyone the rest of the afternoon off. While the students went off in various directions to explore Tel Aviv, Arthur Shorr and I went to the old city of Jaffa. This is a beautiful destination that hugs the coast just south of Tel Aviv. Lots of art galleries, shops, museums and places to stop and enjoy a cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe. 

The evening was spent grading final exams and posting grades. Later in the evening, was met by the brother and sister in law of the travel agent who set up the trip.  Both Ruthie and Miky are pediatricians who work for one of the large health plans in Tel Aviv.  They were absolutely lovely people and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.