The rate of unemployment among Arabs in Israel is much higher than previously
believed, according to a new analysis by Professor Eran Yashiv, chairman of the
Economic Policy Program at Tel Aviv University’s Taub Center.
analyzing the latest figures collected by the Central Bureau of Statistics,
Yashiv discovered that the employment situation in the Arab sector – which
represents almost a fifth of the population – is much worse than had been
The share of Arabs among all unemployed Israelis is around 30
percent, twice that of earlier estimates, the Taub Center said
Whereas in the past figures were collected quarterly, starting
at the beginning of 2012 they were collected monthly. This, says Yashiv,
is compounded by the fact that previous CBS surveys were limited in scope, and
didn’t reach a wide enough sample.
“It’s not that they were doing
something wrong, but the sampling framework was not big enough,” Yashiv told The
Jerusalem Post. “They did not sample enough small places, such as Arab villages,
and therefore they didn’t get as full of a picture as they’re getting
The other major issues contributing to high unemployment, Yashiv
said, are Arab citizens with university degrees not finding work in their
fields, and the low participation rate of Arab women in the
“There is still a lot of discrimination, unfortunately,
against Israeli-Arabs. For example, if an Arab is a graduate of university, and
doesn’t get a job in his field, the statistics say he’s unemployed, but we know
that’s not the full story, and that 40 percent of Arab academic graduates don’t
get work in their own professions,” Yashiv said.
Recently, there have
been several government initiatives to help get more Arab Israelis into the
workforce, particularly people with university degrees who have found it
impossible to find work in their fields.
For the first time in the
state’s history, the government ran television and radio advertisements earlier
this summer, urging people in corporate positions of power to stop
discriminating against Arabs when interviewing job candidates.
warned: “It would be a shame to forgo the right employee for the wrong
It’s too early to evaluate how significant of an impact the
campaign had. But Aiman Saif, director of the Authority for the Economic
Development of Minorities, a division of the Prime Minister’s Office, recently
told the Post that approximately 600 companies have stepped forward to say that
they’d like to participate in a incentives program to hire qualified Arab
Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, the co-director of the Abraham Fund
Initiatives, an organization working to advance equality and cooperation among
Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens, says the revised statistics show the urgency
of the situation.
“The picture that emerges from these statistics is
serious, and testifies to the economic and employment crisis.
the Israeli government is making efforts at economic integration, apparently it
is not enough. The government must formulate long-term programs in various
economic sectors, such as opening industrial zones in Arab communities,
strengthening of local Arab authorities, public transportation that is more
effective and affordable, and running day-care programs [for working mothers],”
Be’eri- Sulitzeanu told the Post.