Weekly Commentary: Can Startup Nation Make An App That Ends Illegal
Dr. Aaron Lerner 7 May 2022
With few exceptions, the huge number of illegal Palestinians now working in
Israel (within the "Green Line") are doing just that.
Our tight labor market simply cannot replace these illegal Palestinian
And it does not serve our national interests to bring in foreign workers to
fill the gap.
The challenge we face is balancing our security needs with our interest in
legalizing the Palestinians now working inside Israel without work permits.
As background it is important to note that under the current system,
Palestinian workers typically pay considerable sums of money to middlemen
for work permits. These permits are for employment by a specific employer.
We also have other Palestinians permitted to enter Israel for a variety of
Our win-win goal should be to maximize Palestinian access to Israel without
compromising on security.
Nowadays literally every Palestinian who wants to come into Israel has a
smartphone and an app could go a long way towards meeting this goal..
Such an app would provide for a biometric id along with a photo id which
security forces, employers and others could readily check and verify.
The app would also continuously report the phone’s location.
The security forces running the app could set restrictions on each
individual in the system (areas, timeframe, etc.) on a dynamic basis.
At the same time, artificial intelligence analyzing the data generated by
the system could pick up suspicious activity which requires intervention on
a real-time basis.
Palestinians would be able to look for work, register as working for a
particular Israeli etc. all through the app.
Israeli employers would also use the app to verify the status of potential
Palestinian employees and confirm their employment.
And since the restrictions applying to an individual in the system would be
dynamic, they provide the security forces with the maximum latitude in
applying a "carrot and stick" approach regarding the parameters of their
access to Israel.
We have the smarts to be able to design such an app and the Palestinians
have the phones to run it.
It's a win-win.
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