Migrant Care Workers in Israel

Between Family, Market, and State

in Israel Studies Review

In the early 1990s, Israel opened its gates to migrant guest workers who were invited to work, on a temporary basis, in the agriculture, construction, and in-home care sectors. The in-home care sector developed quickly during those years due to the introduction of migrant workers coupled with the creation of a new welfare state benefit: a longterm care benefit that subsidized the employment of in-home care workers to assist dependent elderly and disabled Israelis. This article examines the legal and public policy ramifications of the transformation of Israeli families caused by the influx of migrant care workers into Israeli homes. Exploring the relationship between welfare, immigration, and employment laws, on the one hand, and marketized and non-marketized care relationships, on the other, it reveals the intimate links between public policy, 'private' families, and defamilialization processes.