During the next two weeks, the government will approve an emergency economic plan, to “liven up” the economy in the words of the Ministry of Finance, pending the 2021-2022 state budget set to be confirmed in August of 2021. As part of the Mossawa Center’s ongoing work since 1999, the Socio-Economic Department of the Center drafted an emergency budget proposal that can be incorporated into the approved state budget for 2021-2022.
It must be pointed out that the Government’s Resolution 922, which was approved in 2015, has been extended until the end of 2021 with the aim of depleting the budgets allocated to the Arab community in said decision.
1. Social Welfare, Combating Poverty, and Integrating Arabs Into the Labor Market: Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services - Minister Meir Cohen
Social welfare in Arab localities is reaching a breaking point, with 51% of all Arabs living under the poverty line. The Ministry of Social Welfare must implement an immediate plan to respond to the social services needs in the following areas:
- Vocational training to integrate social workers with an annual budget of 200 million NIS.
- Provide 100 million NIS in budgets to mobilize welfare programs in Arab towns.
- Allocate an immediate budget of 100 million NIS for the construction of social welfare buildings.
- Allocate a special budget of 100 million NIS to combat poverty and exhaustion of rights.
2. Health Services: Ministry of Health- Minister Nitzan Horowitz
The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with a group of Arab experts, developed a plan to close the health gaps in Arab communities that lead to the average life expectancy of Arab men to be 8 years less than their Jewish counterparts. The proposed plan includes:
- Providing informative brochures and materials in Arabic with a budget of 50 million NIS.
- Scheme medical centers for large Arab towns with 90 million NIS.
- Implementing a plan to fill gaps of Arab communities with 300 million NIS.
Additionally, clause 4 of the government’s decision includes a commitment to establishing new hospitals in the Negev and Galilee. The Mossawa Center calls for the establishment of Arab hospitals in the Sakhnin-Arraba area, as well as in the city of Rahat.
3. Industrial Zones and Employment: Ministry of Economy and Industry - Minister Orna Barbivai
We suggest the following:
- The adoption of the budget plan of 2017 with 3 billion NIS, in accordance with government decision 1539.
- Immediate allocation of 100 million NIS to develop new industrial zones.
- Establishment of joint administration over employment and national insurance with 50 million NIS.
- A special budget of 2 billion NIS for commercial banks to provide loans to small Arab businesses.
- A plan to establish industrial zones with 300 million NIS.
- Designate an immediate budget of 400 million NIS to aid and promote Arab workers.
- Amend local authorities to manage and establish industrial zones with 50 million NIS.
- Designating a budget of 50 million NIS to promote small and medium Arab businesses.
4. The Housing Crisis: Ministry of Construction and Housing - Ze’ev Elkin and Ayelet Shaked
The rapid planning commission “Al-Fatmal” has approved plans to build thousands of housing units in about 31 Arab towns. The Ministry of Justice put obstacles to prevent the implementation of the plans, including obligating the Ministry of Housing to allocate half of the housing units to residents from outside the towns.
The Mossawa Center demands:
- The removal of legal restrictions set by the Ministry of Justice.
- Enabling the Ministry of Housing and local authorities to publish construction plans in all of the towns in which they have been approved.
- Approval of construction plans in remaining towns that are currently suspended due to the halting of the work of “Al-Fatmal.”
- Ensure that the support for a housing unit does not exceed 100,000 NIS.
- Allocating budgets to develop new neighborhoods in at least 8 Arab towns worth 500 million NIS.
- Monitor at least 200 million NIS to develop detailed plans to solve issue of unlicensed construction in Arab towns.
5. Education and Higher Education: Ministry of Education - Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton
We suggest the following:
- To continue the implementation of the program for the improvement of the quality of education in the Arab education system of 2021, which was approved as part of the Government’s Resolution 922, and allocating 100 million NIS to do so.
- To continue the implementation of the extracurricular learning program with a budget of 130 million NIS.
- Achieve the aims of Resolution 1560 with 50 million NIS.
- Close the gap in differential hours in high schools with 200 million NIS.
- Provide frameworks for vocational preparation with 100 million NIS.
- Build learning classrooms, including in the Negev, with 300 million NIS.
- Allot a budget for the establishment of an Arab university in the Galilee.
6. Arab Local Authorities: Ministry of Interior- Minister Ayelet Shaked
The Ministry of Interior pursues a number of spheres:
Budget donations to local authorities:
- Providing a one-time development donation of 200 million NIS for authorities included in the plan.
- Providing a one-time ongoing donation of 150 million NIS for authorities included in the plan.
- Exploiting the budget that was supposed to go from the Ministry to local authorities (an estimated 47% of the 1,326,662 NIS budget was expended).
Strategic and developmental projects:
- Designating 500 millions NIS to implement development projects in Arab localities in a variety of fields.
Developing the workforce:
- Allot 50 million NIS to strengthen and promote workforce in Arab localities.
7. General Transportation: Ministry of Transport, National Infrastructure, and Road Safety - Minister Merav Michaeli
Within the government’s necessary development projects, work must be done on:
- Implementation of projects for establishing train stations in all of Tibeh, Tirah, Umm Al-Fahem, Sakhnin and Nazareth.
- Allocating budgets for transportation to the tune of 200 million NIS.
- Allocating budgets for infrastructure (roads and streets) worth 500 million NIS.
- Allocating budgets worth 50 million NIS to the National Road Safety Authority to combat road accidents.
8. Agriculture: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - Minister Oded Forer
We indicated in a number of reports that the Ministry of Agriculture is the Ministry of Jewish agriculture, as it does not allocate budgets for the development of the Arab agricultural sector. We suggest allocating a budget of 100 million NIS to support and develop the Arab agricultural sector and provide for its needs.
9. Tourism: Ministry of Tourism - Minister Yoel Razvozov
The Ministry of Tourism has systematically discriminated against the Arab tourism sector. Tourism projects, including the development of Nazareth, Kafr Kanna, Dabburiya, Jisr Al-Zarqa and villages of the Negev did not receive any budgets. We demand the allocation of 150 million NIS to develop these towns.
10. Interior Defense: Ministry of Defense - Minister Omer Bar-Lev
The Ministry of Defense has large budgets allocated for the establishment of police units that serve political aims such as the “Yoav” unit, a highly militarized police unit tasked with implementing demolition orders in the Negev. We suggest dissolving the “Yoav” unit and transferring its budget to the unit for combating violence and unlicensed weapons in Arab society.
11. Culture and Sports: Ministry of Culture and Sports - Minister Hili Tropper
We suggest the following:
- Allocating 60 million NIS to promote Arab culture.
- Plan to consolidate Arab culture in the peripheral regions with a 30 million NIS budget.
- Allocate 10 million NIS to plan cultural centers and buildings.
- Modify historical cultural centers for socio-cultural activities with 100 million NIS.
- Plan to consolidate culture at the geographic level with 15 million NIS.
- Allocating 30% of the Toto lottery budget that is transferred to the Ministry.
- Allocating 25% of total support budgets for construction of new sports facilities and renovation of existing centers.
12. Social Equality: Ministry for Social Equality - Minister Meirav Cohen
We suggest the following:
- Allocating a budget of 50 million NIS to this Ministry to play its role and help achieve projects that cannot be funded by other ministries.
- Ensure fair and equal budgeting in services for the elderly and promote appropriate representation of Arabs in all branches of the Ministry, with a required budget of 40 million NIS for 2021.
- 40 million NIS for the Economic Affairs Committee.
- Specialized program for improving the social status of Arab women worth 100 million NIS.
13. Communications: Ministry of Communications - Minister Yoaz Hendel
- Allocate a budget of 50 million NIS to develop television content in Arabic.
- Allocate 100 million NIS to solve problems with internet connection in Arab towns, which is supposed to be dealt with by Hot within the terms of its contract with the Ministry of Communications.
14. High-Tech and Science: Ministry of Science and Technology - Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen
The government aimed to increase the percentage of Arab high-tech workers to 15% of the workforce. Unfortunately, there are few organizations working in this field such as The Galilee Society and the Triangle Research and Development Center.
- Allocation of at least 200 million NIS to promote the high-tech and science sphere in Arab communities.
15. Environment: Ministry of Environmental Protection - Minister Tamar Zandberg
We suggest the following:
- Elimination of environmental threats and organization of garbage disposal systems in localities with a budget of 50 million NIS.
- Developing recycling and garbage disposal with 50 million NIS.
- Facilitating access to the services of the Nature and Parks Authority to Arab public through cooperation with Arab citizens, including projects in the fishermen's village in Jisr al-Zarqa, al-Karmel, Beit Jinn with the allocation of 100 million NIS.
16. Religion: Ministry of Religious Services - Minister Matan Kahana
The Ministry of Religious Services only supports the employment of Jewish and Muslim clergy. The ministry ignores the needs of other sects to build and repair religious institutions and provide services to the public. We suggest allocating 20 million NIS to solve this issue.
17. Finances: Ministry of Finance - Minister Avigdor Lieberman, accompanied by Minister Hamad Ammar
Budget Monitoring Department:
The budgets department supervises the formulation of the state budget for the coming years. We demand serious and fitting representation of Arabs in this field. Additionally, we ask to allocate funds to build long-term development schemes in cooperation with Arab financial organizations, including the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Local Authorities.
General Accounting Department:
The accounting department monitors the expenditure of state budgets. We need to strengthen this department's relationships with Arab economic and civil institutions, as well as ِArab local authorities.
18. Mixed Cities
The previous government’s decisions excluded mixed cities and did not provide appropriate budgets for their residents, of which 11% are Arabs. We suggest allocating 150 million NIS in funds to develop services for Arab citizens of mixed cities in accordance with clear socio-economic criteria.
19. Ministry of Justice - Minister Gideon Sa’ar
A number of laws and resolutions must be monitored:
- The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, enacted in 2003.
- The Electricity Law - a temporary law that provides electricity without a license.
- The Kaminitz Law - amending the law to obligate planning bodies to obtain adequate representation and involvement of Arabs, and provide a timetable for approving plans.
- The Law of Developing the Negev of 1999.