Task Force Activities
Arab local leadership and high-level Israeli government officials recently gathered for a three-day conference to discuss progress and barriers in implementing GR-922, the unprecedented five-year national economic development plan for Arab society. The conference was organized by the Arab Mayors’ Forum in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Equality, which includes the Authority for Economic Development of the Arab Sector, and was held June 25-27 in Neve Ilan. A number of NGOs working closely with the Arab Mayors’ Forum also participated: Sikkuy, INJAZ, the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, the Galilee Society and Mossawa.
Following historically low Arab voter turnout in April, Israel’s second national elections on September 17 are seen as a chance for Arab leadership to energize voters and increase representation in the Knesset. Political activists and civil society leaders are also working to change discourse about Arab political participation and Jewish-Arab political cooperation, which was a central aspect of divisive campaigning in the first round. What are the challenges and issues facing Arab parties and what possible roles are being explored for Arab political representation in Israel? What are the interests of Arab voters?
Join us on July 18 at 12:00pm for a briefing video call with Samah Salaime, Director of Communications and Development of Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom and Haaretz's Jack Khoury for inside perspectives into these issues.
A recent study on the connection between traditionalism and employment among Arab women found the highest employment rate among the small number of Arab women who define themselves as secular and atheist, and the lowest employment rate among those who define themselves as religious or very religious. The study looked at other factors impacted by or correlated with levels of traditionalism, including beliefs about gender roles, traditional dress, language proficiency, family influences, and exposure to modern skills and technologies.
The survey of 1,000 Arab women from all over Israel, excluding the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, was conducted by the Strategy and Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Services. Click here to read the study in Hebrew.
Partnership between Arab-led and Jewish-led political parties, and the legitimacy of Arab political participation in Israel, is a long-standing and controversial issue in Israeli national politics. The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, remembered predominantly for the Oslo accords, was also the only Prime Minister to rely on Arab parties as an external bloc to sustain a minority government—a level of cooperation that has yet to be repeated. Rather, in the ensuing years, political platforms of Jewish and Arab-led parties remained by and large separate, with little mutual trust developed between parties, and internal pressure within them to limit formal collaboration.
The Chief Economist’s Office under the Ministry of Finance issues a “Weekly Economic Report” focusing on different aspects of the Israeli economy. A recent report focused on matriculation gaps between Jewish and Arab high school graduates (full report in Hebrew).
Of all the tests taken by students throughout their high school years, matriculation exams and the psychometric test most affect access to higher education, the report states, making it important to examine and address social gaps and achievements so that these test scores do not prevent Arab students from enrolling in university.