Study: Israeli Arabs' life expectancy lower

Report by NGO promoting equality between Jews, Arabs cites gaps in welfare, education and housing.

Jews Arabs 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Jews Arabs 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The average life expectancy of Israeli Arabs is four years lower than that of their Jewish counterparts, a report by the Sikuy group, a non-governmental organization promoting equality between the Jewish and Arab populations in Israel revealed Wednesday. Baby mortality rates in particular were shown to be higher in the Arab sector, the report said, with 8.4 deaths for every 1,000 births in the Arab sector, compared with only 3.6 deaths per 1,000 births in the Jewish sector. The report further revealed that 65.7 percent of Arab children live below the poverty line, compared with 31.4% of Jewish children. One of the reasons cited for the discrepancy was Israel's respective welfare investment in the two societies. A Jewish citizen gets on average NIS 508 per year from the state while an Arab gets only NIS 348, the report said. On a more optimistic note, the report cited closing gaps in education levels between Jews and Arabs. The gap between the Jewish and Arab sectors in the number of teenagers eligible to receive a matriculation degree has become smaller, as well as the gap in the percentage of high school dropouts. Despite the apparent improvement in the Arab sector, it still suffers a school-dropout rate of 8%, double than that of the Jewish population. The only parameters where Arabs seem to be doing better than Jews is ownership of real estate: 93% of the Arab population are home owners, whereas in the Jewish sector, only 70.5% own a property. Still, the number of persons per room in the Jewish sector is 0.85%, compared to 1.42% among the Arabs. In conclusion, the report also criticized the decision by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to close the investigation of the October 2000 riots, in which police officers clashing with Arab demonstrators killed 13 people - 12 Arab Israeli citizens and one Palestinian. The decision, "coming hand in hand with an escalation in the expressions of racism, continued house demolitions and persecution of [Arab] political leaders," all increase the Arab population's desperation, said the report. Hadash MK Dov Henin said the findings were "shocking but not surprising." "The report shows enormous economic and social gaps, gaps in health services, and it highlights the fact that the Arab sector is harmed more from various environmental hazards," said Henin.