The Mossawa Center demands the allocation of 5.5 billion shekels for the Arab community - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

The Mossawa Center demands the allocation of 5.5 billion shekels for the Arab community

The Mossawa Center, Tuesday, 7th October, Haifa. The Mossawa Center demands that the Israeli Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance allocate 5.5 billion NIS to the development of the Arab community localities prior to the approval of the 2015 Annual State Budget. Mossawa insists on the implementation of the budgetary decisions from previous governments, and a definition of the criteria for the distribution of the regular governmental budget. We argue that 5.5 billion shekels out of the 328 billion is needed to close the gaps for the Arab communities, in addition to equal allocation of the regular budgets. The socio-economic department at the Mossawa Center monitors the state budget and prepares position papers detailing the budgetary needs of the Arab community in Israel. Our socio-economic department's appeal went out to all the Ministers before the vote on the budget. This is also before it will be submitted to the Knesset in the winter session that begins at the end of October.

Other monitoring of the state budget shows discrimination against the Arab public as an abusive policy that is without exception. We published a summary of the findings about the gaps in the allocation of the budget and the needs of the Arab population. We found that funding is biased in the State Development budget and there were entire sections that allocate funds exclusively for the Jewish community. The total allocation for the Arab population in the State Development budget was only 6% of the budget in 2014. The special programs backed by governmental decisions mostly ended in the year 2014 and the new decision to close the gaps in infrastructure, development, employment, treatment of poverty, and housing has not yet been accepted.

The following are the main recommendations of the Mossawa Center:

1.         National programs to close the gaps in infrastructure and services: There is a need for a multi-year program to close the gaps in infrastructure and services. The improvement of the economic conditions of the Arab population in Israel will come from the establishment of industrial areas, the creation of classrooms and housing, the expansion of roads, and the integration in the job market.

2.         The application of past government decisions: There were significant parts of the six governmental decisions that were passed in recent years that were not applied fully and were not raised verbally or in writing for different and varied reasons. Because of this, there are budgets that were not yet utilized for the 2015 budget, and a comparison of the criteria for the division of normal budgets should be added.

3.      The integration of Arabs into government offices: Due to the discrimination of Arab citizens in the public service, there is a need for the implementation of law to ensure appropriate representation of the Arab community in the civil service. The government made a decision to freeze new workers' absorption into the public sector. The objective that the government set for 2012, 12% as appropriate representation from the Arab population in the government offices, has not yet been achieved and we have not seen much thought put into the integration of Arab women and youth into the public service.

4.         Poverty: Most of the poverty stricken communities in the country are Arab communities. Mossawa calls on the government to implement the Alalouf Poverty committee's report, with special attention to poverty-stricken Arab communities. 

      We demand that the Israeli government stop economic discrimination against the Arab community and Knesset members. We call on local councils and civil society to support our demands for the 2015 State Budget. The Arab community has great economic potential and the current discriminatory policies need to be faced.


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