PM’s investment in Arab sector doesn’t match his rhetoric, say NGOs

Netanyahu said on Monday he regretted offending the country’s Arabs during a rallying call on Election Day last week.

By
March 25, 2015 03:45
2 minute read.
Nazareth

Nazareth . (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Organizations involved in the Israeli-Arab sector admit that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made investments in it, but say such benefits are not enough and canceled out due to his government’s anti-Arab policies.

Netanyahu said on Monday he regretted offending the country’s Arabs during a rallying call on Election Day last week.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Speaking to the Israeli-Arab leaders, he emphasized his record of “tremendous investment in minority communities” and said that he regards himself “as the prime minister of each and every one of you, all the citizens of Israel, regardless of faith, ethnicity or gender.”

Fearing his voters would stay home, Netanyahu, who won a surprise election victory last Tuesday and is set to head a new government, accused left-wing organizations of busing Israeli-Arabs to the polls “in droves” to vote against him.

Jafar Farah, the director of Haifa’s Mossawa Center – The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Tuesday that Netanyahu’s government has carried out a discriminatory investment policy in the Arab sector.

“The streets are in a terrible state, towns are without proper sewage systems, and houses can’t be finished because of bureaucratic obstacles,” he said. “Less than 4 percent of the state’s development budget went to Arabs in 2014.”

“So how do you bridge the gap?” he asked.



Amnon Beeri-Sulitzeanu, coexecutive director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, told the Post in an interview that Netanyahu has indeed harnessed significant investments in the Arab sector in transportation, employment, industrial projects and promoting higher education enrollment.

However, he said, “the investments will not be able to maximize their potential to integrate Arab citizens into society as long as they are not complimented by political will.”

“In parallel to these positive developments we have been witnessing waves of anti-Arab policies and legislation, which have alienated the Arab minority and threatened it.”

Because of counterproductive policies and statements, these investments are not likely to achieve the intended results comprehensively, added Beeri-Sulitzeanu.

Asked if economic improvement in the Arab sector would solve a significant proportion of the underlying problems and tensions, he responded that if real participation and social inclusion are not also sought, it wouldn’t work.

Regarding the reported plan to construct an Arab city just east of Acre, Beeri-Sulitzeanu said that this idea has being recycled over and over again while so far nothing is moving on the ground.

The city would be the first non-Beduin Arab city to be erected in Israel since its establishment. It is predicted to have a population of 40,000, and would be connected to a planned train line between Acre and Karmiel.

“The Arab population in Israel is over 10 times larger then when the country was founded yet the state has created hundreds of Jewish towns and villages, but not one Arab one, besides in the Negev,” Beeri-Sulitzeanu said.

The fund co-director said the land issues, including extremely limited jurisdiction areas of Arab towns and the absence of town plans, constitute a core problem, the solution to which is fundamental for economic development.

Reuters and JTA contributed to this report.

Related Content

Ron Huldai
August 14, 2018
Poll: Huldai will handily beat any other Tel Aviv mayoral candidate

By TAMARA ZIEVE