Task Force Activities
On March 26, Blue and White chair Benny Gantz announced his intention to join PM Benjamin Netanyahu in forming a national emergency government due to the Coronavirus crisis. The move, which ends an unprecedented series of stalemate elections and led to the dissolution of Blue and White, also ended Gantz’s effort to form a minority government backed by the Joint List.
Israel is well-known as a high-tech powerhouse, but for more than a decade, industry growth has been outpacing the domestic supply of skilled professionals creating a labor shortage that is pushing the industry off-shore. At the same time, Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up nearly 21% of the population, are the focus of national efforts to bring them into Israel’s advanced professions. Arab women, especially, are the most underrepresented in Israel’s workforce and are seen as key to closing economic gaps for Arab society.
What is the business case for workforce diversity in tech? What does it take for an Arab woman to be part of the “Start-Up Nation?” Together Ifat and Sireen will share insights, both professional and personal, into Israel’s efforts to integrate its Arab citizens into the high-tech sector.
Join the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and NextGen of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on April 2 for a webinar to explore these questions and hear from two barrier-breaking women in the high-tech industry, Ifat Baron, Founder and CEO of Itworks, and Sireen Nijeem, Arab high-tech engineer about efforts to integrate Arab into to Israel’s most important industry and the personal journey of an Arab woman who broke through the barriers and is now a role model to others.
Thursday, April 2nd
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Civil society organizations in Israel address the unique issues facing Arab society amid the COVID-19 crisis and present gaps in the health, education and employment fields.
This post summarizes some of the major health and economic concerns including how civil society organizations are coping with the crisis, recent actions taken to mitigate the risks, and further recommendations issued.
On March 12, when PM Netanyahu called for an emergency unity government in response to the Coronavirus crisis, Kahol Lavan Chair Benny Gantz agreed (Hebrew) on the condition that it is a “broad national government that includes representatives of all parts of the house”—meaning with the Arab-led Joint List.
Four days later, Gantz was given the first mandate of the March 2 elections to form a governing coalition by President Rivlin, after being recommended by the Joint List (including Balad, the most hard-line of the list’s four allied parties) and MK Avigdor Liberman’s secular nationalist (usually right-wing) party, Yisrael Beiteinu.
Whether Gantz will be able to form a minority coalition with the outside support of the Joint List or ultimately enter a unity government with PM Netanyahu (as is widely speculated) remains to be seen. But the influential role played by the Joint List towards this moment suggests how far—despite significant discord on the subject—Israel’s goalposts on Arab participation in national politics have moved over these three consecutive elections.
The Arab-led Joint List party won an historic high 15 Knesset seats in Israel’s March 2 election, two more than it received in September’s vote. Preliminary estimates show that 64.7% of the electorate in Arab towns and cities (not including mixed Arab-Jewish towns and cities) turned out to vote, the highest in 20 years.