The Cabinet today approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s and Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel’s proposal to advance a systematic and structural economic development plan for the minority sector (Muslims, Christians, Bedouin, Druze and Circassians). The plan includes structural corrections to government allocation mechanisms in order to reduce gaps and aid the economic development of this sector. The plan was formulated following thorough staff work carried out by the Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Social Equality Ministry, together with representatives of minority local authorities and civil society.
Within 30 days, recommendations on enforcement will be submitted to the Cabinet by a team under the aegis of the Deputy Attorney General that will deal with upgrading planning and construction ordinances. A director generals committee will evaluate the location, responsibilities, budget and personnel of the national unit for enforcing planning and construction ordinances. All funds earmarked for housing, planning, subsidized high-rise construction and the construction of public structures are conditioned on a Cabinet discussion and approval of the recommendations to be submitted to it on the enforcement of planning and construction ordinances in the minorities sector.
The decision includes measurable targets for reducing gaps and for economic development in various policy areas: Education, public transportation, highway infrastructures, the encouragement of employment and initiatives, public security, law enforcement, local authorities, sports, community services, etc. The plan also allocates resources for implementing the report of the 120 days team on increasing the supply of housing in minority communities that will allow for the future construction of tens of thousands of housing units in minorities communities.
It is anticipated that implementation of the plan will significantly contribute to the economic development of minority populations by increasing employment rates, improving scholastic achievements, increasing a sense of personal security in these communities, improving the accessibility of public transportation and strengthening local authorities.
The decision was formulated in light of the great importance that the government ascribes to the development and economic integration of minority populations, the need to reduce gaps and improve the welfare of the populations themselves, and to maximize the growth potential of the economy as a whole.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"This is a significant addition designed to assist minority populations and reduce gaps. The plan will lead to the end of close-to-the-ground construction and a transition to high-rise construction as exists throughout the country. At the same time, the plan will strengthen law enforcement in the minority sector with emphasis on illegal construction."
Minister Gamliel:
"This is an important and historic step on the way to reducing gaps and advancing social equality in Israel. The plan that was approved today by the Cabinet is very comprehensive and relates to all aspects of life for Israel’s Arab citizens and local authorities. This is dramatic news; for the first time, the Government of Israel is changing the allocation mechanisms in government ministries so that Israel’s Arab citizens will receive their relative share in the state budget. This is a broad and balanced plan that provides an immediate answer for the local authorities to improve the lives of their residents and, at the same time, significantly contributes to the education, transportation, employment and housing infrastructures that will constitute an extensive cushion for economic growth and a genuine reduction of gaps."