Over 6,000 construction workers from India will arrive in Israel in April and May, the Israeli government said on Wednesday amid its war on Gaza.

The Israeli government added that the workers will be brought from India on an “air shuttle”. This was the largest number of foreign workers to arrive in the country for the construction sector in a short time, it said in a statement.

The statement said that the decision was taken by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, the country’s finance ministry, and the construction and housing ministry.

The workers from India were being sent to Israel under a government-to-government agreement between the two countries, PTI reported.

In November, reports stated that the construction industry in Israel had asked the Indian government to allow companies to recruit one lakh Indian workers to replace the 90,000 Palestinians whose work permits had been cancelled since Israel’s war on Gaza started in October.

A month later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had said that he had discussed “advancing the arrival of foreign workers from India to the State of Israel” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India’s external affairs ministry had said at the time that India had not discussed with Israel the possibility of Indians workers replacing Palestinian labourers in the West Asian nation. However, the National Skills Development Corporation had issued a detailed document calling for workers soon after.

Earlier this month, the first batch of 64 construction workers from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh left for Israel amid the war on Gaza.

At a farewell event organised by the Israeli embassy for the 64 Indian workers on April 3, National Skill Development Council officials said that they had received a demand for 10,000 construction workers from the Population and Immigration Authority, the Israeli employment agency, on November 15.

Subsequently, an employment drive was carried out in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. As many as 9,727 workers were found to be qualified for the jobs and were offered contracts to work in Israel, the officials said. The 64 workers were part of the nearly 10,000-strong workforce that would be flown to Israel.

Over the past nearly six months, Israel has been carrying out air and ground strikes on the besieged Palestinian territory. The attacks have killed over 33,000 persons in Gaza and injured almost 75,000.

The war began after Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 persons. The militant group had also taken over 200 people hostage. Some of the hostages were released in November as part of a brief ceasefire in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and humanitarian aid.