On Tuesday May 9th, a conference will be held in the Knesset to discuss the pitfalls in the new state budget before its approval.
The Mossawa Center has called upon political parties, local authorities, and civil society organizations to form parliamentary, media, and popular pressure before the Knesset approves the proposed budget for government ministries for the years 2023-2024, which is expected in the coming weeks. The Center has warned against passing the budget without media and public struggle, will allow the government to deepen the discrimination against the Arab community, and will increase budgets allocated to militarization and occupation, and intensify economic and social discrimination against the Arab community.
Economist Mohammed Abu-Leil from the Social Economic Unit at the Mossawa Center in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung has prepared a comprehensive report on the proposed budgets of ministries and the demands of the Arab community for the budget proposal. The report relies on data on the disparities experienced by the Arab community in various areas, such as education, employment, youth, poverty, health, industrial areas, agriculture, tourism, transportation, and welfare.The report was circulated to Knesset members, civil society institutions, and local authorities as a tool to be used during the parliamentary advocacy in the coming weeks before the budget vote.
In tandem with the report, the Mossawa Center will host their annual conference to discuss their findings. This will be held on Tuesday, May 9th, 2023, in the Knesset, in cooperation with Members of the Knesset (MKs) on the parliamentary finance committee, Dr. Ahmed Tibi, Aida Touma Suleiman, Iman Khatib Yassin along with the National Union of Arab Municipalities in Israel, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Heads of Arab local authorities, Knesset members, and representatives of government offices and civil society institutions have been invited to review the budget proposal and work towards garnering parliamentary and public support for the demands of the Arab community from the budget.
Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, emphasized the need to work at all levels to influence the budget proposal before its approval, in order to close the gaps that have deepened the crisis in education, health, culture, and employment in the Arab community.
Dr. Ahmed Tibi has pointed out that the conference aims to intensify coordination and pressure between Knesset members and local authorities, who must ensure that the allocated budgets are fully utilized. This conference is a call from the Arab community before the budget is approved. We have invited the Chairman of the finance committee, Moshe Gafni, as well as a number of ministers and representatives of government offices to participate. He added that Arab members of the finance committee have made hundreds of reservations about the budget proposal and will make every effort to secure people's rights to fair budgets distribution by the government.
The Chairman of the National Union of Arab Municipalities in Israel, lawyer Mudar Younes, confirmed that "Arab local authorities are the first to be affected by the planned government budget cuts. We have warned against reducing the budget for transportation, welfare and the environment, and the advisors' team in the Committee has communicated with the Ministry of Finance, the Economic Development Authority, and the majority of ministries to ensure approval of at least what was passed in Government Decisions 550 and 1279. We will intensify our presence in the Knesset until the budget is approved, and we will follow up on the implementation of the decisions with all the different ministry teams."
The Mossawa Center will issue more information on the demands for the budgets of various ministries during the budget debate that will take place until the end of May.
Speakers at the Knesset event:
MK Dr. Ahmed Tibi - Member of the Finance Committee
Mr. Mohammad Baraka - Chairman of the Supreme Monitoring Committee
MK Aida Touma-Sliman - Member of the Finance Committee
MK Iman Khatib-Yasin - Member of the Finance Committee
Ms. Yehudit Stilman-Krao-Friedrich Ebert
Mr. Jafar Farah - Director of Mossawa Center
Mr. Omar Wa'akid - Mayor of Arbe, member of the Committee for Arab Mayors association.
MK Moshe Gafni - Chairman of the Finance Committee
MK and Minister Nir Barkat - Minister of Economy and Industry
Mr. Meir Bing - Director General of the Ministry of Social Equality
Mr. Hassan Tuapreha - Director of the Authority for Economic Development in the Ministry of Social Equality
Ms. Noor Abd-Al- Hadi - Ministry of Health
Mr. Amin Abu Haya - Director of the Arab Society in the Ministry of Housing
Mr. Faraj Fahaj - Ministry of Transportation
Mr. Munir Hamouda - Head of the Council of Boiene Nojidat.
Mr. Dravish Rabee - Head of the Jaljulia local Council
Mr. Salameh al-Atarish - Head of the Al-Qasom Regional Council
Mr. Khaled Hujayerat - Head of the Beir Elmaksor local Council
Mr. Ahmed Sawaed - Member of the Misgav Regional Council
Wisam Omar - Head of the Tuba-Zangaria Council
Civil Society expers:
Mr. Amir Basharat / Mr. Obad Shhada - Economic advisors to the Arab Local Authorities Joint Committee
Mr. Fat- hi Abu Younis - Chairman of the Forum of Welfare Department Directors in the Arab Local Authorities
Mr. Roy Barak - Sikkuy-Aufoq
Mr. Walaa Haik - Arab Center for Alternative Planning