Israel is defending a program to bring Jordanian day workers into its tourism industry against heavy criticism in Jordan.

The Tourism Ministry says Monday that the arrangement to bring in some 1,500 workers to hotels in the southern city of Eilat is a "win-win situation" for Jordanians seeking employment and for Israeli hoteliers. The ministry says the Jordanians enjoy the same employment and social benefits as their Israeli counterparts.

Jordanians opposed to normalization of relations with Israel have lashed out at the arrangement and floated conspiracy theories about the workers being recruited by Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Israel and Jordan signed a peace accord in 1994 and have close security cooperation. But many Jordanians oppose normalization with Israel and are angered by its policies toward the Palestinians.