Task Force Activities
In March, Arab civil society organizations and leaders established a dedicated Emergency Situation Room for Arab Society to coordinate the national Coronavirus response with the needs and realities of Arab communities, and to support local authorities in meeting health and welfare priorities. In parallel, a situation room was also established in the Negev to address the specific crisis-response needs in Bedouin society.
This update aims to briefly report on the current impact of the crisis on Arab citizens and provide an overview of efforts to structure and implement the national and local emergency response for Arab communities. It is beyond the scope of this report to detail all the unique risks, gaps and challenges in Arab society created by this crisis, nor all actors, projects and emergency initiatives underway. Rather, it focuses on issues of alignment with national state authorities, identifies priority areas on the ground, and provides examples of activities for each.
Medical professionals are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic everywhere. In Israel, where 17% of doctors and 24% of nurses are Arab citizens, Jewish and Arab citizens are fighting side by side to save lives and contain the spread of the virus. Widely lauded for their contributions, Arab healthcare professionals nonetheless go back to towns and villages where emergency response is delayed or lacking. What does the pandemic look like from inside the hospital halls? How has the shared crisis narrowed or accentuated gaps between Jewish and Arab communities?
Hear from Dr. Yasmeen Abu Fraiha, a Bedouin doctor at Be’er Sheva’s Soroka hospital who is also leading efforts to enhance preventative medicine in the Bedouin community. She also shared her experiences and insights from the medical and social frontlines.
The Corona Crisis in Arab Society
Marian Tehawkho and Kirill Moskalev
In a March 23 update, the Task Force summarized the immediate Coronavirus crisis risks specific to Arab society due to social and economic gaps affecting the emergency response— a situation we continue to follow. This update looks at some of the shared society issues raised by the crisis, including opportunities to strengthen Jewish-Arab relations in a shared crisis and persistent gaps in trust and inclusion.
Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel are experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic together as a national crisis. But a lack of preparedness and resources within and for Arab communities have led to increased health and economic concerns. In recent days, a situation room has been established for Arab society to enhance coordination and strengthen capacities to implement an emergency response. In what ways is this crisis different in Arab society? What are the main risks, priorities and efforts taking place now? What is the impact, if any, on Jewish-Arab relations?
Hear from Ghada Abu Jaber-Nijem, Executive Director of Injaz and head of the Local Authorities Committee in the National Situation Room for Arab Society and Mohammad Darawshe, Director, Center for Equality & Shared Society at Givat Haviva, about efforts to address emergency response gaps in Arab society as a public health and shared society priority.