After reviewing the draft of the government’s plan to combat organized crime in the Arab community, the Mossawa Center expresses its reservations about the contents of the plan and rejects large parts of it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Minister of Internal Security spoke about the aforementioned plan during the Parliamentary Anti-Violence Committee session on Monday, 9 November 2020, where PM Netanyahu spoke about the government's intention to adopt the plan.
The Mossawa Center relayed the following reservations to members of the Arab Parliamentary Committee:
- The Israeli government is evading its responsibilities and the failure of its ministries in addressing the reality that the Palestinian Arab community is experiencing. The Mossawa Center considers the government’s failure to be part of its policy of "controlling" the Palestinian Arab community within Israel.
- Participation of the Arab public: The General Directors Committee did not consult Palestinian Arab institutions while developing the plan, did not rely on knowledge, resources, and community institutions present in the Arab community, and did not organize open town halls with the participation of the Palestinian Arab public and community institutions. No Palestinian Arab participated in the work of the ministerial committee which drafted the plan, according to the list of committee members published in the report.
- The Ministry of Education bears responsibility for the dropout rate of Palestinian Arab youth from education system. The policy of discrimination in teaching hours and teaching courses by the ministry has led to thousands of students dropping out of the education system without professional guidance nor training.
- Palestinian Arab society suffers from a policy of impoverishment which has led to socio-economic and cultural marginalization of large segments within Palestinian Arab society. The Ministry of Social Welfare practices a policy of systematic discrimination and is responsible for such circumstances in the Palestinian Arab community. The Ministry has established more than 37 "mediation" centers to resolve disputes and prevent violence in Jewish localities, yet has failed to establish any such centers in Palestinian Arab localities.
- The Ministry of Justice failed to develop the “mediation” system to resolve disputes within Palestinian Arab localities. Moreover, despite comprising about 20% of Israel population, over 44% of the country’s prison population is Palestinian Arab. The judiciary ignores the absence of rehabilitation institutions for minors and the absence of facilities to combat drug and alcohol addiction.
- The Ministry of Health has not worked to meaningfully address the health gaps and absence of services for alcohol, drug, and smoking addictions in the Palestinian Arab community.
- Research and academic institutions ignore the demand for applied social studies and research on social, economic, political and cultural development in the Palestinian Arab community. They also ignore the need to train professional cadres for community work in Palestinian Arab society.
- The Ministry of Culture allocates less than 5% of its budget for cultural production and consumption in Palestinian Arab localities. In the absence of facilities and infrastructure for museums, theaters, and cinemas, we see severe scarcity of cultural enrichment and development in Palestinian Arab society. We reaffirm our belief that culture is a right for every child and person in our society.
- The financial and banking systems discriminates against the Palestinian Arab community in their savings and lending policies, leading to the development of a black market for lending in the community. The Knesset enacted government law proposals to combat money laundering which instead led to significant sums of money being diverted into the black market, further contributing to violence and organized crime.
- The policy of "control" that the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) applies towards the Palestinian Arab community contributes to a policy of racism and hostility that is rooted in the policing system, as detailed in the 2003 Or Commission. In recent years, the police have used the issue of chaos and violence in the community to increase their funding from the Ministry of Finance. Despite the money that has poured into the police force since 2015, we have not seen any improvement in civilian police services or in the fight against organized crime.