Knesset: Arabs only 6% of civil service

Rivlin: Law calls for “appropriate representation” for Arabs.

May 5, 2010 04:46
2 minute read.
reuven rivlin in his podium seat at knesset 298

reuven rivlin in seat298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Only 6 percent of civil servants are Arabs, even though they constitute 20% of Israelis, according to a parliamentary committee interim report presented to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday.

“The principle conclusion deriving from the findings is that the law calling for appropriate representation of the Israeli-Arab community is not only not being implemented but is even being used as a pretext not to hire Arabs according to a predetermined ratio in keeping with the ratio of the Arabs in the general population,” the report stated.

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The law calls for “appropriate representation” for Arabs in the civil service but does not define what percent is appropriate. However, according to a cabinet decision, Arabs are supposed to make up 10% of the civil service by 2012.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al), head of the parliamentary committee established by the previous Knesset to study the issue, told Rivlin that government decisions were not being implemented and the goal of 10% by 2012 would not be reached.

“The principle conclusion of the report is that the law, which talks about the requirement of appropriate representation in general and noncommittal terms, is not enough, and there is a need to determine that the level of appropriate representations should equal the proportion of the Arabs in the general population or close to it,” Tibi said.

He also complained that there were no senior decision-makers in the civil service such as directors- or deputy directors-general or legal advisers.

Rivlin said there were very real gaps between the Jewish and Arab populations, and that the causes of this situation were not relevant, only the solutions.

Avishai Braverman (Labor), the minister in charge of minority affairs, told the members of the parliamentary committee that he agreed with Tibi that Arabs should make up 20% of the civil service. He also agreed that the government would not reach its goal of 10% by 2012.

“The government’s test is not in the decisions or plans it makes but in deeds and results,” Braverman said. “A positive result will be when Israeli Arabs are employed in the civil service close to their representation in the population.”

According to the figures presented in the report, only 1.13% of the employees in the Prime Minister’s Office are Arabs. The figure in the Foreign Ministry is 1.25%, 2.1% in the Civil Service Commissioner’s Office and 2.55% in the Israel Lands Administration.

The highest percentages of Arabs are employed in the Ministry of Interior (22.7%) and the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services (8.15%).

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