According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, as of August 2020, 1.945 million Arabs live in Israel, constituting 21% of the country’s population. The Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel have suffered since the establishment of the state from budgetary discrimination in many areas, which has led over the years to significant gaps between Jews and Arabs in the country.
This situation is not only inconsistent with the principles of a democratic state but also undermines the social and economic resilience of the State of Israel, and therefore requires a fundamental correction.
In order to raise awareness of this issue among the Israeli public, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in collaboration with Givat Haviva has launched a campaign on social media to raise awareness among the Israeli public of inequality in the distribution of budgets between Jewish and Arab-Palestinian citizens in the country and the need to change this situation.
According to official data from the Ministry of Education, the average investment from the state budget in 2019 in a Jewish student was NIS 25,647, while an Arab student received only NIS 19,947, meaning that a Jewish student received 28% more than an Arab student.
Although the average investment in Arab students has risen steadily since 2014, the gap between Jewish and Arab students is still significant.
- Secular education left behind: Religious students receive a 30% higher budget (Hebrew)
- Does a poor Arab high school student really get less than half than a Jew? (Hebrew)
Social investment / day care
The ability of parents of young children, and mainly of mothers of small children, to integrate into the labor market depends on a number of factors, one of the main ones being the accessibility of day care centers.
Demographic analysis shows that the ultra-Orthodox population makes the most use of daycare centers, with 41% of households with children of the relevant ages in some form of daycare. In contrast, for Jewish families (excluding ultra-Orthodox families) this rate is 16%, and for Arab families only 8%.
According to a recent study by the Taub Center, the lack of use of daycare centers in Arab society is related, among other things, to the lack of availability in Arab localities. Although since 2014 about 20% of the total annual development budgets have been allocated for the construction of daycare in Arab localities, this is not enough to reduce the existing gaps.
According to data published by the Ministry of Health’s Strategic and Economic Planning Administration in February 2020 (Hebrew):
The average infant mortality rate for the years 2014-2018 in Israel was 1.3 per 1,000 live births. Among Jews and (non-Arab) others the rate was 2.4 and among Arabs 5.4, which means that the figure among Arabs is almost twice as high as among Jews.
The overall mortality rate per 1,000 residents (age-adjusted) in 2017 was 5.7 among men and 4.0 among women. In that year the standardized mortality rate among Jewish and other men was 5.5 and among Arab men 7.1. Among Jewish women, the standardized mortality rate was 3.9, while among Arab women it was 4.9.
In localities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, the highest rates of diabetes in the country are found in Arab localities: in Jisr a-Zarqa (138.1), in Qalansawa (122.5), in Tel Sheva (111.7) and in Umm al-Fahm (110.9).
Diabetes morbidity is not evenly distributed among different social groups. Thus, for example, the prevalence of the disease increases significantly with a decrease in the socio-economic level of the patients. The same is true for diabetes being under control – higher levels of the disease being under control are observed in those with higher socioeconomic status.
The chances of success in maintaining diabetes balance depend on a number of factors, some related to the quality of medical care and some to the characteristics of the patient’s lifestyle and behavior. Therefore, the fact that the accessibility of appropriate medical services in most Arab localities is limited significantly adversely affects the reduction of diabetes in Arab society and the ability to maintain the balance of Arab diabetics.
A study published by the Bank of Israel in September 2019 (Hebrew) shows that the level of service of public transportation in large Arab localities is about a third lower than in similar Jewish localities, and their relative situation has not improved since 2010. The researchers also point out that one of the causes of the large gap between Jewish and Arab localities is the fact that all train stations are located in the municipal area of Jewish localities.
According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, Culture, and Sports’ budget for Arab culture in 2019 amounted to NIS 40 million. This is less than 4% of the cultural budget, although Arab citizens constitute about 21% of the population of the state.
From a speech delivered by the late Menachem Begin in the Knesset in 1962:
“Some say that we cannot give full equality of rights to Arab citizens… because they do not have full equality of duties. Yet this is a strange claim. True, we decided not to oblige the Arab residents, unlike the Druze, to serve in the army. But so we decided of our own free will. And I believe that the moral justification is valid… We believe that the Jewish state should have equal rights for all its citizens, regardless of religion, nationality or origin.”
From the words of the late Yitzhak Rabin at the Levy Eshkol Art Prize Ceremony, 1994:
“We are currently in the midst of a battle without cannons, in a war without fire, which will be perhaps one of the most important and decisive in the history of the Jewish people in recent generations: the war on the image of the State of Israel. We will have to choose between fanaticism, fantasies of greatness, corruption of moral and Jewish values as a result of controlling another people, blind faith, arrogance, ‘I and I alone’- and a Jewish, democratic, liberal way of life, with consideration for the beliefs of others. Even amongst us, as beside us, when each lives according to his own faith.
From the words of Reuven Rivlin, former President of the State of Israel, in his speech marking the 40th anniversary of the peace agreement with Egypt:
“This is the place to say in a clear voice: of late… we are exposed to an unacceptable discourse towards the Arab citizens of Israel. I have refused and continue to refuse to believe that there are parties that have given up the image of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish in the same breath. Whoever believes in the duty of the State of Israel to be Jewish and democratic in the full sense of the words, must remember that the State of Israel has absolute equality of rights for all its citizens.”