A girl looks at the camera during an event marking the Jewish holiday of Purim at the Bialik Rogozin school, where children of migrant workers and refugees are educated alongside native Israelis, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 10, 2017..
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
The government announced on Sunday the launch of a program that will promote employment diversity and the integration of equal opportunities in government companies.
The nationwide pilot project was formulated jointly by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in the Labor and Social Services Ministry and by the Government Companies Authority in the Finance Ministry.
Among the companies that will participate in the first round of the pilot are the Electric Company, Namal Ashdod, Amidar and Israel Railways.
“Employment diversity contributes to the employers and strengthens Israel’s social and economic resilience,” Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz said of the initiative.
“We are working to integrate diverse populations, and government companies should serve as an example and lead the integration of all populations in the labor market without discrimination,” he added.
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission was established in 2008 in response to discrimination against a wide range of populations in the labor market, including women, Ethiopians, ultra-Orthodox, and Arab Israelis.
According to the commission, despite the fact that Israeli law has forbidden such discrimination for over 20 years, the enforcement of the law has been poor and discrimination has continued uninterrupted.
As part of the new program, the ministries will run seminars and training for representatives of government companies with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of diversity in society and will guide the companies to recruit, hire and create a more inclusive environment for workers from different communities.
Additionally, the ministries will assist in conducting satisfaction surveys among government employees.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said the project aims to promote values of equality and serves to minimize the socioeconomic gaps in Israeli society.
“The promotion of the project will help to increase diversity of employment in government companies in a manner that is consistent with my policy of integrating and properly representing the entire population among employees of government companies,” he said.
The first seminars, run by the commission together with the Finance Ministry, will begin in mid-March and are set to include senior executives and human resource workers of 35 government companies.
“It is obvious to all of us that the Israeli labor market must change, and open its doors to the entire population,” said Mariam Kabaha, the national commissioner for equal employment opportunities.
Kabaha congratulated the government companies that volunteered to be the program’s pioneers and called on all employers to implement similar programs to promote equality.
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