The Mossawa Center, a non-profit that advocates for Arab citizens in Israel, called on Economy Minister Orna Barbivay and Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan to prevent the closing of "Maof" centers that support small businesses that serve Arab populations in the north, highlighting that the closures of centers is being done as the government decided to allocate NIS 30 million to economic development in the Arab sector.
Out of the 15 centers that are in operation in northern Israel, where over 50% of Arab Israelis live, only five are located in Arab cities and now three of these will be closed, said the Mossawa Center.
The Mossawa center added that the initial division of the Maof centers, was discriminatory towards Arab Israelis, with very few of the 40 centers opened in Arab cities.
The centers offer multiple services for small and medium businesses for a small fee. The centers also help businesses create a business plan and are funded by the Agency for Small and Medium Businesses.
The service is meant to be provided especially to businesses in Israel's social periphery, including the Arab sector, the ultra-Orthodox sector, and the Druze sector, according to the agency's site.
"The decision to close the Maof centers is opposed to the government decision 550 which is meant to expand the government activity supporting Arab sector businesses," said Jafar Farah, the founder and General Director of Mossawa Center.
In a meeting earlier this month, Golan committed to keeping the centers open, added the Mosawa Center.