|Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post|
New initiative calls for Arab parties to join gov't
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
Abraham Fund director: “The question is, is it natural that 20% of the population does not have a representative in the cabinet?"
The Abraham Fund Initiatives called on Prime Minister Netanyahu late last week
to invite the Arab parties to join the government.
The fund works to
improve the integration and equality of Arab citizens of Israel.
statement published by the organization titled, “The Abraham Fund Initiatives to
Netanyahu” says that Arab citizens of Israel would like to see their
representatives integrated into the decisionmaking process and have Arab
politicians invited to join the government.”
The co-executive directors
of the Fund in Israel, Amnon Beeri- Sulitzeanu and Mohammad Darawshe, stated
that the invitation of the Arab parties to join the coalition has a value in
itself, because it conveys a positive message and encourages Arab
A meeting between Netanyahu and Arab leaders would allow them
to place important Arab issues on the agenda of the new
Research conducted by the fund before the elections showed
that Arab society yearns for real participation in the decision-making process
More than 50 percent of respondents to the fund’s survey said
it would increase their motivation to vote if the Jewish parties would
incorporate Arabs in running the country.
The fund also wrote a letter on
January 30 to President Shimon Peres, echoing this message.
Beeri-Sulitzeanu, the coexecutive director of the Fund, told The Jerusalem Post,
“We think that Netanyahu needs to take the initiative and invite the Arab
parties to join the government [and] even if [the initiative] does not succeed,
he could still appoint an Arab MK as a minister in his government on a
professional basis, not a political one.”
He says Netanyahu could also
choose an Arab who is not a politician, but a professor for example, to serve as
health, transportation, or housing minister.
Beeri-Sulitzeanu says that
“the government needs to promote Arabs to senior positions in the civil service
– to become for example, director general of various ministries. This period
after the elections is a good time to promote Arabs in the government and in
public service. We call on Netanyahu not to forget this while he is making his
In response to a comment that this initiative has little
chance of success, Beeri-Sulitzeanu responded that this is understood, and
mentioned that it is also quite possible that the Arab parties would not agree
to join for their own reasons. “But the point is that there should be a turning
to them, a symbolic approach.” This also serves a
Beeri-Sulitzeanu emphasizes the importance of this as the
beginning of a dialogue and contact between them and the government, which is
what the Arab public wants. He says the Fund is aware of this because it
monitors Arab opinion.
“The question is, is it natural that 20 percent of
the population does not have a representative in the cabinet, does not have a
seat at the government table? This is also not good for Jews, not only Arabs.”