Ex-Treasury head: Bias to blame for low Arab employment

Discrimination is behind the low rate of labor force participation in the Arab sector, Yoram Ariav told the Caesarea Conference.

Lod City Center 311 (photo credit: WikiCommons)
Lod City Center 311
(photo credit: WikiCommons)
Discrimination is behind the low rate of labor force participation in the Arab sector, former Finance Ministry director general Yoram Ariav told the Caesarea Conference on Sunday.
“We somehow manage to find solutions for the haredi (ultra-orthodox) community, and that is because it is less comfortable for us to deal with the real problem connected to the Arab sector, which is discrimination and prejudice,” he said.
Ariav referred to a research study presented at the conference, which showed that 40 percent of young Arabs between the ages of 18 and 22 are not studying or working.
“While young Jews are serving in the army, young Arabs have an opportunity to enter the work force, however they are not taking advantage of this opportunity. We see, for example, that a large percentage of these young people dropped out of school already in 9th grade and are therefore in a high risk group, from which it is easy to descend into crime in the future,” he said.
“It is comfortable for us to speak about the Arabs’ motivation to join the work force, but we have to ask, what happens to this Arab after he starts working? What are his chances for promotion? How many Arab department heads are there, not to mention CEOs? Here we arrive at the real problem, that we are not comfortable talking about, which is discrimination. It is simply discrimination.”
Ariav spoke about his relationship with Lod, where he has been the chairman of the City Development Fund for the past year. He says Lod is a microcosm of Israeli society.
“We recognize the Lod from the news, but we must remember that Lod is only 12 minutes from the Azrieli center in Tel Aviv, and yet there are neighborhoods there that are not connected to a sewage system. Everyone says today that we must ‘save Lod.’ But no one is saying who we need to save it from.
Lod needs to be developed for the good of all its residents, otherwise we cannot expect that it won’t blow up in our face.”