PM blasted for not including Arabs, enough women on panel

MK Ahmed Tibi mocks makeup of new socioeconomic task force, saying “maybe there’s an Arab driver, or someone who serves coffee.”

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, MICHAEL OMER-MAN
August 10, 2011 03:55
2 minute read.
MK Ahmed Tibi

Ahmed Tibi 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism on Tuesday for not appointing any Arabs and for not including enough women on the task force headed by Professor Manuel Trajtenberg that is examining solutions to the housing crisis.

MK Taleb el-Sana (United Arab List Ta’al) lamented that the Arab sector was not being represented despite it being “the most deprived, and suffering from a distressing lack of housing.” The committee, he said, “was formed out of political considerations and not weighing professional issues.”

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Sana accused Netanyahu of “trying to put out fires with slogans and committees,” and he warned that ignoring the problems of the Arab public could increase anger and frustration and bring about the breakout of massive Arab protests.

The government team, he said, should “examine the government’s failures and bring about necessary changes in the government’s social policies.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List Ta’al) mocked the makeup of the task force, saying “maybe there’s an Arab driver, or someone who serves coffee.” Tibi said the absence of an Arab representative, “says a lot about the prime minister’s treatment of the troubles.”

Although Netanyahu did appoint five women out of the 14 members of the task force, women’s groups complained Tuesday that he did not appoint more and that key sectors of women were not represented.

A law passed in 2005 by MKs Eti Livni (Shinui) and Amira Dotan (Kadima) requires the government to include “a proper and diverse representation” of women on public committees and task forces. The women’s organization Itach-Maaki, which sued the government over the makeup of the Turkel committee that investigated the flotilla last year, has been pushing for the law to be enforced since it was passed.

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Itach-Maaki sent Netanyahu a letter from 20 women’s organizations before the task force was appointed, asking for representation from multiple sectors.

Another letter will be sent later Wednesday reiterating the request and asking for an expert on women’s issues to be added to the task force.

“It’s especially problematic that there is no haredi or Arab woman, because these sectors are particularly suffering from housing shortages and other economic problems,” said Dorit Abramovitch, who coordinates campaigns for women’s organizations. “We are concerned that in order to give solutions to students and silence their protest, [Trajtenberg]’ s team will take funds away from sectors in bad shape like pensioners who aren’t on the committee.”

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