Local Arab authorities to strike amid gov't neglect over coronavirus

Local Arab-Israeli authorities have been petitioning for additional help from the government to tackle the spread of coronavirus in their regions during the holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims in the Old City in Jerusalem shop in preparation for Ramadan (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Muslims in the Old City in Jerusalem shop in preparation for Ramadan
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Committee of Local Arab Authorities decided that it would be doing a general strike beginning this coming Tuesday, explaining that it is doing so because of the serious neglect it has been facing from the government amid the coronavirus crisis.
"The losses of the authorities are estimated at tens of millions a month, but the government cotninues to abandon us and not raise a finger," Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday afternoon. "I back this important decision and demand that government ministries remember that 20% of its citizens are Arabs and also need to cope with the crisis."
A report by the Health Ministry in mid-April showed that a high percentage of Arab coronavirus patients, in addition to ultra-Orthodox patients, infect their family members, while the cases are concentrated among few families.
In preparation for the month of Ramadan, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had spoken with Arab mayors and concluded that there is an urgent need for increased law enforcement and coronavirus evacuations in the Arab sector.
Ramadan, Islam's holiest month during which Muslims fast during the daytime and pray, feast and socialize at night, has been a major worry in Israel amid the coronavirus outbreak, as large gatherings in the evenings may lead to the spread of the illness.
Most Arab-Israeli towns fear coronavirus will peak in their regions and they must therefore be provided with more resources to combat the spread.
The leader of the Arara local council in northern Israel, Mudar Yunes, said that "the Israeli government can't leave our villages in a state of chaos."
Yunes asked for the help of the Israeli police and the army in tackling the issue, petitioning for more patrol cars, Home Front Command soldiers to deliver groceries, and more.
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Maariv, and JTA contributed to this report.