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Report on Equality and Integration of the Arab Citizens in Israel

Sikkuy, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization in Israel, publishes an annual report on the status of Arab citizens of Israel who comprise 18.6% of the Israeli population. This is a brief summary of the report's findings related to the way each government ministry addresses the needs of Israeli Arabs.

The Ministry of Environment

The major issues concerning Israeli Arabs are: lack of funding for environmental offices in Arab municipalities, underdeveloped waste management infrastructure in Arab municipalities and paucity of education materials for Arab adolescents.

The Ministry of Health

The major issues concerning Israeli Arabs are: lack of infant welfare clinics and breast cancer screening offices in Arab local municipalities. There has been a decrease in the infant mortality rate among Muslim citizens, however the rate is still twice that of the Jewish population.

The Ministry of Domestic Security

Arabs are concerned about budget cuts for the Arab policy centers in Arab communities. A second concern is the increased violence displayed by the police against Arab demonstrators. A third concern is that Arab schools have not been given security guards, like Israeli schools do and have had to pay for their own guards.

The Ministry of Construction and Housing

Three issues of concern are: actualization of mortgage loans, non-existent public construction in Arab communities; lack of financial assistance available for Arab residents of small communities, as entitled to them.

The Ministry of Education

There is a new five year plan to close the gaps in Arab and Druze citizens’ education. The plan includes, among other things: budget allocations for pre-school education, construction of new buildings and special care teaching hours for Arab local municipalities. The plan addresses problems in academic achievement and physical conditions of institutions, although few resources has been allocated for culture and identity issues.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Arab citizens have been left out of the quota system and have not been allocated any land for agriculture. Arab farmers only receive 2.3 percent of water quotas. Of the 3,000 quotas for poultry production (1,000 of which are active), only one Arab is a recipient of the quota and his farm is not active. A second issue is that more than 50 percent of this ministry’s budget has been designated for Jews only.

Ministry of Science Culture and Sports

One issue of concern is the unequal distribution of ministry assistance for scholarships and for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A second area of concern is the number of Arab citizens who are faculty at academic facilities (50 out of 5,000). The Maof scholarship has been implemented to give financial aid to promote Arab citizens to positions in academic facilities.

Ministry of Justice

Issues of concern: paucity of Arab interpreters provided by the Israeli courts, inequalities in the law for Jews and Arabs in court and lack of courses for Justices about unique problems facing Arab citizens.

Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare

Arabs are faced with unequal distribution of social workers to communities in distress, many of which are Arab. A second issue is that many Arabs face discrimination at work, due to their nationality.

Ministry of Religious Affairs

Most of the budget is focused on items that are only relevant to Jews. An example of its inequality can be found in the poor upkeep of Arab cemeteries

Ministry of Interior

Discrimination can be found in the national planning scheme. A second issue is the uneven expropriation of land adjacent to the Trans Israel highway, Israelis will benefit more from the commerce than Arab village.

Ministry of Transportation.

Issues of concern are uneven budget for regional development and urban roads, integration of Arab employees in transportation institutions, such as Ben Gurion airport and Israel Train system and translation errors in road signs.

Ministry of Tourism

There are only 98 out of 6,000 rooms used as guest houses operated by Arabs.

Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Trade

Almost 80 percent of state land designated for industry can be found in Arab local municipalities. None of the industrial zones along the trans-Israel highway are in the jurisdiction of Arab municipalities.

Ministry of Media and Communications

There are no Arab employees in this ministry, affecting the types of programs geared for Arab citizens.

Source: Sikkuy's Report on Equality and Integration of the Arab Citizens in Israel, Israel: Sikkuy, (June 2000).