At the initiative of The Mossawa Center and in cooperation with the Fredrich Ebert Foundation, a foreign delegation of a number of embassies visited the village of Jisr Az-Zarqa to check on the general situation of the village and to follow up on the opportunity for economic development in the Arab community. Among the participants were representatives of the Dutch, South African, American & Canadian embassies in Israel. The event was held at the local council of the village, and Mr. Sheikh Morad, the head of Jisr Az-Zarqa local council, welcomed the delegation and later presented the challenges that the village faces, its potential and demands regarding the expansion of the construction land, building housing units and developing the tourist area in the village.
Director of the German Friedrich Ebert foundation talked about the foundation’s interest in enhancing the situation in the Arab society, and collaborating with social and political foundations in and outside the country. Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, gave a presentation about the designated budgets for the Arab population in Israel, mainly talking about the implementation of government decision 922’, where he showed that the overall country’s budget exceeds 480 billion ILS a year, while the designated budget for the Arab population doesn’t exceed 2 billion ILS a year, which essentially means deepening the gaps between the Arab community and the Jewish community.
Farah urged the representatives of countries that support Israel internationally to ensure the equal allocation of budgets for the Arab population, specially when it comes to housing, industrial areas, employment, infrastructure, education & development of human resources.
After the meeting, the delegation, accompanied by Sheikh Morad and tour guides Mohammed Ammash & Ahmad Jiha, visited the Crocodile stream area and the fishermen village and saw Byzantine, Roman & Turkish monuments, and saw the tourist village plan and the new neighborhood that’s being planned.
The delegation expressed its desire and intention in doing more visits to the village and examining the possibility of cooperation with its social and local institutions and considered it an important touristic area. The delegation was later hosted by “Jiha” Guesthouse for an Iftar meal.
The director of the Mossawa Center emphasized for the diplomatic delegation that the village suffers from negligence and discrimination and organized crime that grows fear in its people and prevents its development, and he demanded the delegation to revisit the village to make its people feel their intention in enhancing the village’s situation. The Mossawa Center has also accompanied a TV crew to the village to document assaults done by organized crime aginst the families in the village, and the report will be broadcasted on TV next week.
The Mossawa Center is supporting Jisr Az-Zarqa in order to achieve their demands in the expansion of the construction land, building new schools, center for early childhood, battling poverty and organizing the village’s people to improve its situation and development.