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A Hotel in Tiberias

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May 4, 2015 by wimvincken

This is a story about the inner workings of an unnamed medium sized hotel somewhere in the middle of Tiberias, a cozy small city bordering the Sea of Galilee.

First thing interesting is that the hotel is Jewish owned. A religious American Jew. This is important to know for the perspective.

Tiberias, 1920s

Tiberias, 1920s

When a guest has a problem, he or she asks someone who works at the hotel, not? The people working at the hotel are helpful and friendly, and speak Hebrew and… Arabic.
When the guest speaks English, that’s a problem.
Maybe the friendly person who checked them in? Nope, no such luck. Maybe the manager? Also not. At last they found somebody. A friendly, helpful Israeli guest like them speaks English and Hebrew. Saved by the bell!

Looking more closely, you find that the people, who are running the hotel are in fact Israeli Arabs. A very few speak some words of English, but that is rare.

When you check the rest of the hotels, you discover similar situations. For the big hotels, they managed to find English speaking Israeli Arabs. Charming people.

Then you would say that the Israeli Arabs get at least salary. Yep, that’s right. Except they get underpaid of course, because the work is uneducated work. If you, dear reader, a person from America or England or even a native Israeli accept such job, you get also underpaid. How underpaid?
They take an hour per day from your pay because of breaks, some hotels one and half hour. They charge 300 shekels per month for the food you eat. If you might make too many hours, they give you extra unpaid leave.
When there are no guests, they send you home, unpaid of course. But you work 6 days a week.
Some months ago, you suppose to earn the minimum wage. That’s about 4,300 shekels. They get paid 3,600 per month (all before tax).
Now, the minimum wage went from 23 shekels to 25 shekels per hour. They have now about 4,300 per month, which suppose to be 5,000 per month.

Back to the English and the Israeli Arabs. Did they go to school? Yes. Did they learn English? Yes. What did they really learn? Arabic and Hebrew.

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