Israeli Government Approves Huge Budget to Improve Condition of Arab Sector
The Israeli government approved a NIS 15 billion budget on Wednesday to reduce the socioeconomic gap between the country’s Jewish and Arab sectors, Israeli news site Walla reported.
The money will fund a five-year plan aimed at improving the Israeli Arab community’s access to welfare and police services, as well as improving transportation and infrastructure in Israel’s Arab towns and cities.
The program, proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, along with Budget Department Director Amir Levi and Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, was approved after three cabinet hearings, one on Sunday and the other two on Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the budget “a significant increase” in the state’s allocations for assisting the Arab minority.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also welcomed the plan. “I congratulate you and the government on passing this grand and significant decision,” Rivlin told Netanyahu. “This is a significant and important step towards reducing gaps that have existed for years. Though the road is still long, the government’s decision is a turning point,” he said.
The chairman of the Joint Arab List party, Ayman Odeh, also expressed approval at the passage of the plan, calling it “the result of a social struggle that has lasted many years, and that is still far from being completed.” He added that it “could be a first step in reducing the economic and social disparities of the country’s Arab population.”