Briefing Paper: What is Financial Inclusion and What Needs t...

Briefing Paper: What is Financial Inclusion and What Needs to be Done to Include Arab Society in Israel?

July 13, 2023

In today's global economy, financial inclusion has become a critical topic of discussion. The concept revolves around ensuring that individuals and households have access to financial services that can empower them economically. Financial inclusion not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall development and prosperity of a country.

The briefing paper "What is Financial Inclusion and What Needs to be Done to Include Arab Society in Israel" is a collaborative effort between the IATF and the Adva Center. Recognizing the mutual interest in raising awareness about financial inclusion in Israel, we partnered to create this insightful report for our audiences both in the US and Israel. The paper delves into the concept of financial inclusion, highlighting the pressing need to include Arab society in Israel, as they face limited access to financial services.


In Israel, financial inclusion has gained prominence as policymakers acknowledge its potential impact on society. The Bank of Israel released a comprehensive report in July 2022, titled "Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Creation of a National Plan for Increasing Financial Inclusion," which examined the current state of financial inclusion in the country. The report highlights the fact that Arab society in Israel is financially active but operates primarily within the informal economy, leading to financial challenges for both older and younger individuals, resulting in “rampant crime and underdevelopment for individuals, households, and Israeli society as a whole."

To address these challenges, the Israeli government has set targets for increasing financial inclusion among the Arab minority, as outlined in Government Resolutions 922 (2015) and 550 (2020). While progress in implementing these resolutions has been hindered by changes in the government and subsequent elections, according to the brief, the Bank of Israel has taken steps to allocate a significant budget for financial literacy programs targeting Arab society. The brief also examines the efforts of non-governmental agencies in advancing financial inclusion for Arab citizens in Israel. Fostering an inclusive financial ecosystem is crucial in empowering individuals and facilitating societal progress.


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