A new analysis shows that Resolution 922, the five-year plan for the development of the Arab community in Israel, will not address welfare and health issues. This represents a significant shortcoming, as large gaps persist between Arab and Jewish citizens in Israel in terms of poverty, employment, reliance on welfare, infant mortality and life expectancy.
Welfare and health issues represent some of the most essential areas for the development of the Arab community. Israel has the highest poverty rate among OECD members, due in part to the continued discrimination against the Arab minority. While the poverty rate among Jewish citizens sits at 13.6 percent, the rate among Arab citizens is 52.6 percent and continues to rise.
The Mossawa Center’s analysis of the 2016 State Budget shows that poverty and poor health care in Arab communities continue to pose a significant burden to the national economy. According to this analysis, high rates of drug use, delinquency, birth defects and unemployment are far more costly for the state than investing in prevention and improved social services would be. There is an especially high need among Arab communities for social services for women and girls, and for the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-prisoners.
The 2016 budget for the Ministry Welfare shows no allocations from Resolution 922 to deal with employment issues in the Arab community. This represents a major failure, as almost one in four Arab men between the ages of 25 and 64 are unemployed and forty-three percent of young Arabs are neither working nor studying.
The Ministry of Welfare’s budget for 2016 falls especially short by failing to support the employment of Arab women. Only 22 percent of Arab women are employed, compared with 58 percent of Jewish women. Of Arab women who are employed, 90 percent work part-time. Arab women also struggle with a wage gap, when compared to their Jewish counterparts: on average, Arab women are paid 40 percent less than Jewish women in similar positions.
Very few details have been released about Resolution 922 as a whole, though it was passed in December 2015. One of the only concrete commitments to come out of Resolution 922 to date has been a plan by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, to invest NIS 1.4 billion in an attempt to combat the housing crisis in the Arab community. There is also an NIS 2 billion five-year plan to increase policing in Arab communities.