NGO: Inequality up between Israeli Jews and Arabs

The "inequality gap" between Jews and Arabs in Israel grew in 2007, according to a study published Wednesday by Sikkuy, The Association for the Advancement of Civil Equality in Israel. The finding was based on an assessment of equality indices in five categories of socioeconomic life - health, shelter, education, employment and welfare. The researchers explained that they had changed many of the variables that went into determining the individual indices in 2007 as compared to 2006 (except for the health index), making it hard to compare the two directly. If, however, the 2007 analysis had been based on the same variables as in the previous year, the aggregate index would have been 0.2867, only slightly higher than the 2006 aggregate of 0.2845 (The higher the index, the wider the gap). But the study also found that the Arab sector lagged behind the Jewish sector in each of the five categories of socioeconomic life examined and, while the gap had narrowed from 2006 to 2007 in education (0.3420 to 0.333), it had grown wider in welfare (0.4418 to 0.4589), employment (0.3882 to 0.3991), health (0.2076 to 0.2108) and shelter (0.1446 to 0.1461). The researchers explained that each of the individual indices was based on a number of variables and that the aggregate index was based on the weight of each individual category in accordance with assessments of the national expenditure on each category. The findings showed that "inequality between Jews and Arabs is growing wider in almost every one of the areas we studied. The indices are an alarm bell warning of the destructive consequences of government policy," wrote Sikkuy co-directors Ali Haider and Shalom Dichter. The quantitative measurement of how different groups in society are treated is not new, the authors of the research said. Such measures are used to assess discrimination between whites, African-Americans and hispanics in the US (Total Equality Index), gender discrimination (HDI, GEM, and GDI) and discrimination against immigrants in Europe.