By Amit Acco, Partner |

As in many western countries, Israel currently suffering from a shortage of bus drivers that in turn, creates a massive traffic disruption. The Organization of Israeli Bus Drivers announced a shortage of 5,000 drivers back in June 2022.

According to npr host, Ms. Mary Louise Kelly:

“All across the U.S., transit agencies are struggling to keep up. Hiring and retaining enough bus drivers is proving especially challenging…multiple service cuts to that city’s transit system are also making it hard for riders to get where they need to go” (Date: January 17, 2022).

A survey made in the Unite The Union in the UK on November 2021, it was found that:

“…driver shortages are getting worse, with 79 per cent of respondents recording that vacancies had increased since the pandemic began in March 2020. This is a highly disturbing picture for passengers, who will be concerned about declining and unreliable services, especially as buses remain the most used form of public transport.”

Foreign Bus Drivers To Obtain A Work Visa In Israel

To resolve the current bus driver shortage, it was suggested that the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Interior will allow recruiting foreign workers as drivers in the public transport sector. This suggestion is strongly opposed by the Histadrut (the largest employees union in Israel).

In a response the Histadrut made on August 1, 2022, the organization informed the Director General Transport, of their strong opposition to the idea of ​​recruiting foreign workers as drivers in the public transport sector, and certainly to the promotion of this idea unilaterally.

The organization argues that

“bringing foreign drivers to the public transportation industry will not fill the existing large shortage of drivers in the industry, but will even increase it because bringing in foreign drivers will push out the Israeli drivers currently employed in the industry on the one hand , and on the other hand, it will cause the foreign drivers to flee back to their countries, “since surely they too will not want to be exposed to the same diseases that the ‘driver’ profession suffers from in public transport today.”

The Histadrut also stated that:

“bringing in foreign workers in order for them to play such a central role in the day-to-day lives of the citizens of the State of Israel, in which the public transport driver is responsible for the lives (literally) of hundreds and thousands of passengers every day, while shortening the time of their professional training in Israel foreign workers, while the lack of supervision of their identity, training and previous professional experience, even raises a wide variety of problems – security, safety and other professionalism”.