Arab sector to launch strike, protests if budget demands not met

Joint List chief Ayman Odeh to meet Netanyahu on Monday.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli-Arab leadership is frustrated with the government since it has not yet proposed a budget increase for the sector, with one community head involved in the talks telling The Jerusalem Post that a strike would occur on September 1 if no solution is found.
Jafar Farah, the director of Haifa’s Mossawa Center – The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, said on Thursday that on Sunday there should be a response from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon regarding budgeting for the Arab sector.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet with Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh on Monday. Until now, there has not been any response from the government on this issue, said Farah.
“Unfortunately, they are not dealing with this seriously,” he claimed.
If an acceptable proposal is not received by September 1 then there will be a general strike in the Arab sector and on the following day, when the Knesset is scheduled to deal with the state budget, there will be protests outside of the building, warned Farah.
The Mossawa Center said in a statement on Thursday that investment in Arab education remains low and many communities cannot build schools or daycare centers because of restrictive bureaucratic obstacles posed by the Israel Lands Authority.
The center, in cooperation with the National Committee of Arab Heads of Municipal Authorities as well as Arab MKs, created a team to deal with economic issues in the Arab sector.
Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ganaim, who is the chairman of the committee, told the Post last month that the meeting at the time between Arab leaders and the prime minister “was positive without a doubt.” He said he would create a ministerial committee that would meet each month to deal with problems in the sector.
Asked about what funds were being demanded to develop the sector, Ganaim said NIS 32 billion over five years. This money will help the Arab sector deal with unemployment, crime and poverty, he said.
Kafr Kasim Mayor Adel Badir, who was also present at the meeting, said, “We stand by our demands.”
There will be negotiations and the next step could call for “a legitimate struggle to make our voice heard,” he said.