Israel deports a dozen Malawians sent to work

LILONGWE, Malawi: Malawi on Tuesday said Israel had deported 12 workers who had walked off farms and orchards, left deserted by the Gaza conflict, that they had been sent to work on.

The workers “in breach of their contracts… abandoned their lawful employment at the farms to start working at the bakery,” Malawi’s government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu said in a statement.

Since November, hundreds of Malawians have flown to Israel as part of a government labor export program aimed at finding jobs for young people and generating desperately needed foreign exchange.

Many Malawians remain without work as the country has been gripped by an economic crisis that has seen massive government spending cuts.

Israeli farms, a valuable part of the economy, have lost thousands of laborers since the October 7 Hamas attacks triggered the Gaza war.

Dozens of foreign workers were among about 240 people that Israel says were kidnapped in the attacks.

Lilongwe cautioned the remaining workers, many of them young men and women, that a breach of contract would “not be tolerated.”

Kunkuyu urged workers to “desist from such behavior as it puts this country into disrepute.”

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