The writing was on the wall. On the morning of this sad incident, Orly Vilnai, an Israeli journalist, wrote in Ha’aretz newspaper about the many requests sent to Kav LaOved by frightened migrant agricultural workers in the south, who work in greenhouses and fields defined as “open areas.” The Iron Dome system does not intercepts missals in this area and thus the workers are not protected. Only a few hours after publication we learned that Narakorn, an agricultural worker, was killed by a mortar shell.
Responsibility on the government’s part cannot be avoided. Calls for the urgent need for protection of agricultural workers in the south are not anything new; only last week Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline sent a letter to the Minister of Defense demanding action for workers’ protection. This is in part given that an agricultural worker was killed in 2012 in the “Pillar of Defense” operation, in the same locality in which Narakorn was killed. However, the Defense Ministry refused to allocate a budget for protection of agricultural areas with the excuse of lack of funds, though the government transferred more then 400,000,000 NIS for the benefit of residential communities in the South. It was only after news of the death of Narakorn that the Treasury rushed and passed budgets for protecting agricultural workers. Despite this important decision, it is regrettable that the workers were forced to pay such a heavy price, working in combat areas without adequate protection and suffering the loss a human life.