President Rivlin works with Co-Impact to promote inclusion of Arab society into workforce

The Co-Impact initiative titled “The Partnership for a Breakthrough in Arab Employment” was launched during a meeting at the President’s Residence in 2015 to combat disparages in employment rates.

President Reuven Rivlin at the Tnuva dairy factory (photo credit: KOBI GIDON)
President Reuven Rivlin at the Tnuva dairy factory
(photo credit: KOBI GIDON)
President Reuven Rivlin visited the Tnuva Dairy Factory in Alon-Tavor Sunday afternoon to support a unique initiative championing the increase in Arab employment across Israel.
Tnuva is one of thirty prestigious companies working with the Co-Impact Initiative to help Arab citizens living in Arab societies in Israel obtain positions in the local workforce – others include Coca-Cola Israel, Deloitte, Microsoft, Teva, Amdocs and more. Eleven companies are currently in the analysis stage to decide if they would be a proper fit for the program, including Pelephone, Carlsberg, Nespresso and HP Israel.
During Rivlin’s visit to the Tnuva factory the president, accompanied by Tnuva and Co-Impact management, met with Arab employees who have directly benefitted from the initiative, toured the production line and spoke about the importance of the program for the State of Israel’s economy.
"The State of Israel is a success story and our mission today is to make sure no one is left behind, and everyone is invited to be part of this success story,” said Rivlin. “The integration of Arab society into the economy is an instance where business and social responsibility are intertwined and that is also the strength of this move."
The Co-Impact initiative titled “The Partnership for a Breakthrough in Arab Employment” was launched during a meeting at the President’s Residence in 2015 to combat the disparages between the employment rates of Arab citizens of Israel versus Jewish Israeli citizens.
One of the main challenges facing Israel’s society and economy is working towards the inclusion of Arab populations into the workforce – in a fair manner that promotes coexistence between societies that are separated and segregated from one another beginning as early as grade school.
There are extensively large economical gaps separating Jewish-Israelis and Arab-Israelis, individually as well as across societies – whether it be employment rates, fields of employment or levels of income – which not only indicates that Israelis live in a society that promotes discrimination in the workforce, these gaps also undermine the rights of the Arab population, negatively influences the economy and most importantly the prospects for social solidarity between the societies.
Arab citizens of Israel account to 21 percent of the total population of Israel. Due to these disparages, a fifth of the Israeli population does not directly benefit from Israel’s economic growth and if included in the workforce these citizens normally fill out occupations classified at the lower end of the labor market.
In contrast to filling out 21 percent of the population, Arab citizens of Israel contribute to only 8 percent of the annual GDP and account for 5 percent of the jobs listed in the business sector of the Israeli workforce, with only .3 percent of those individuals holding managerial positions – defined as companies with over 1,000 employees and an annual GDP of over $50 million, accounting for over 70 percent of the Israeli labor market.
A study performed by the Bank of Israel reported that the exclusion of the Arab population in the workforce results in the annual loss of thirty-one billion NIS or eight million dollars a year in GDP.
The Israel Democracy Institute indicated that employers must “initiate a change in organizational culture and remove internal barriers to discriminated groups. This is an ongoing market failure that requires joint intervention by all stakeholders to reach a solution.”
These “large Jewish employers” are the same companies are experiencing issues with finding the skilled laborers they are looking for – while simultaneously there are about 140,000 young Arab adults who are either unemployed or “underemployed” in jobs classified as being “incompatible” with their education and abilities.
The Co-Impact mission of this initiative is to champion “the full and appropriate inclusion of the Arab population into Israeli employment, society and the economy, in a way that will strengthen both Arab communities and the sustainability and strength of the economy in general.”
Co-Impact guides companies to achieve certain recruitment quotas, mainly targeting the Arab sector specifically, either through recruitment workshops, focus groups or promotional development.
Within this the initiative helps “promotes the rate and quality of employment of Arab employees in the largest companies in the economy. To this end, the initiative accompanies the companies and assists them in learning and professionalization processes that will allow them to be more diverse.”
Four companies Co-Impact mentors achieved a sample population of 20 percent Arab employees within their businesses, which directly reflects Arab representation in the general population of Israel.
“In 2015, with the launch of ‘Co-Impact’ initiative, the rate of Arab employees in Tnuva stood at 12 percent, while in 2019 it stands at 20 percent- similar to their rate in Israeli society, with 100 of the employees filling managerial positions,” Co-Impact said regarding their success in Tnuva specifically.
All companies participating in the initiative offer mentorship programs to their new Arab employees, guiding them through their professional development and promoting their hopeful advancement within the company – in addition to holding internal focus groups to meet the needs of their Arab employees accurately.
All efforts point towards the want and need for coexistence and solidarity within the workforce.
"We have come a long way, but we still have some distance to advance. We want to see the Israeli diversity in management and leadership positions. I am pleased to see how [Tnuva is] raising the bar for goals you set for [the company] and [in summation] achieving them. You are a spotlight, and more companies will follow,” Rivlin explained, adding that companies with “the status of Tnuva in the Israeli economy requires, with their strength, [an important] responsibility."