Doctors residents x-ray 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Only 9.5 percent of medical personnel working in government institutions are
Arabs, with only 0.25% in management positions, even though they constitute 20%
of the Israeli population, according to MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List- Ta’al),
head of a Knesset investigative committee on the subject.
numbers, there are just 2,729 Arabs among 28,724 medical workers.
970 Arabs work in the northern district and only 60 in the southern
The rate of Arab psychologists, social workers, paramedics,
physiotherapists and occupational therapists is 7.25%, while only 2.58% of
psychologists in the public sector are Arabs.
Tibi said on Monday that
half of all state workers are employed in the health system, but fewer than 10%
are Arabs. In general government service, Arabs constitute 7% of
In the north, the share of Arabs in governmental health
institutions is higher than in other parts of the country, but nevertheless,
only 0.25% are in management positions. The most prominent is Dr. Masad Barhoom,
director-general of the Western Galilee Government Hospital in
Arabs in the south, Tibi stated, have much less representation
in health system jobs, especially when the Bedouin population’s significant need
for public health services and Arabic-speaking staffers is taken into account.
Fewer than 2% of the Health Ministry’s staff is Arab.
Minister Ya’acov Litzman said his staff is working to improve the situation in
the south and in various emergency rooms with large Arab populations.
health, there are no barriers. If something is good for the Arab population, it
is also good for the Jewish population, and vice versa. The ministry is working
to eliminate discrimination as much as possible,” Litzman
Ministry Director-General Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that the Arab
population must be more strongly encouraged to train for health professions. Of
700 students that have started medical school this year, only 9% are Arabs. Five
years ago the figure was half as large.
“In the problematic districts,
especially in the south, we have increased the number of Arab nursing students,
of which there are now 35. If we receive more money, we will be able to double
and even triple the manpower slots for Arabs and Druse in these areas,” Gamzu
Gamzu said the ministry has opened an Arabic section on its
website, granting the population more access to information.
management positions, he conceded, “This is our soft [weak] spot.”
adviser to the Knesset committee, Dr. Danny Gera, said that the
relatively good situation of Arabs in the health sector compared to others
government divisions is “not a result of wanting to give them suitable
representation but because of the shortage of manpower in this
Tibi summarized the discussion with the committee’s demand that
the health funds provide data on Arab employment within 30 days.
further asked the ministry to consider easing licensing demands for hundreds of
Arab doctors. He also suggested holding retraining courses for Arabs to become
nurses, in order to ease the shortage in Arab areas.
called for the establishment of a joint team of the ministry and the Council for
Higher Education, to research the barriers to Arab acceptance to and study at
schools in the health professions.