Israel-Palestine war: Kerala nurses wary of losing jobs amid financial struggles
The nurses from Kerala continue to perform their duties in Israel amid war with the Hamas due to their hardships back in their native country. The conflict escalated as Israel retaliated against Hamas, launching extensive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to target the terrorist organization's assets.
Tel Aviv: Even as Israel-Hamas are engaged in wars, nurses from Kerala continue to stay back in Israel due to their hardships back in their native land. They continue to perform duties amid the sounds of rockets and siren warnings. Rejeena PR, a 48-year-old nurse from Kottayam who works as a caretaker at an elderly residence near Netanya, around 70 kilometres from Ashkelon in Israel, has no aspirations to go back to her home in Kerala.
Speaking to media outlet Times of India (TOI) over the phone, Rajeena said, "If I return to Kerala now, I may never be able to enter Israel again. I can't afford to be without work." She had been a nurse in Bengaluru and, despite putting in close to 12 to 15 hours each day of work, her monthly income limit was Rs. 16,000. She received considerably less money in Kerala. In comparison, she receives a salary of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh plus food and lodging in Israel as a caregiver. She works nonstop and must remain with the patient at all times, yet she makes enough money to save.
Another caretaker Shinju James from Pala, Kottayam told TOI, "Though there is some risk, the security rooms (shelters) are ready, and alarms warn us of any danger." "A well-paying job is more important for us. At present, we are safe and don't want to leave the country," says Anzy Babu, who works as a caregiver in Haifa.
She notes that if the conflict lasts a long time and her visa expires while she is still in India, returning to Israel may not be simple and she may need to pay an additional Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh to an agency in order to find employment in Israel.
More than 7,000 Malayalis are reportedly working in Israel, with more than 70% of them being nurses working as carers there, according to Norka, the Kerala government's agency that handles expat issues.
The conflict escalated as Israel retaliated against Hamas, launching extensive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to target the terrorist organization's assets.
Israel responded by mobilizing a significant force of 300,000 troops within the last 48 hours, a rapid and unprecedented mobilization in the country's history. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari confirmed this substantial deployment, highlighting the urgency of the situation.
Additionally, the IDF announced that it had regained control over the border with the Gaza Strip, following a 72-hour period in which Hamas terrorists breached sections of the barrier, leading to the tragic deaths and kidnappings of over 1,000 Israelis.