Supermarket manager Laknath Dias says the economic crisis in his native Sri Lanka is too much for him to bear. He is getting ready to fly to Israel in December to work as a farmhand for nearly 10 times the pay, despite the war with Hamas.

Dias is among 20,000 workers that Sri Lanka, desperate for dollars and remittances, plans to send to Israel starting early next month to work in the farm and construction sectors, a Sri Lankan minister said on Thursday.

Israel's farms, most of which are in the center and south of the country, traditionally rely on thousands of Thai and Palestinian workers to till the land and bring in the crops.