The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved two five-year plans for the advancement of the country’s Arab sector.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, one plan involves the allocation of some 30 billion shekels ($9 billion) in total, to provide greater employment, innovation and housing opportunities. The other is a program to combat increasing violence in Arab-Israeli society.

“Our goal is to reduce the gaps in education, social welfare, women’s employment and the economic-municipal sphere,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during the Cabinet meeting.

“The more we intensify education for mathematics and the sciences in the Arab sector and increase Arab participation in the high-tech market, the more we will all gain,” he added.

Among the measures that the government said would be undertaken in pursuit of the above goal are:

• Increasing the number of courses for professions in demand in the economy. Emphasis will be placed on acquiring proficiency in Hebrew, to encourage qualitative integration in the employment market, and daycare centers will be expanded to enable and encourage Arab women to enter the workforce.

• Improving care for minorities throughout the country in women’s health, first years of life, diabetes and obesity, mental health, smoking and lung ailments.

• Promoting the construction of thousands of new housing units, while repairing and developing older neighborhoods’ infrastructure, including rainwater drainage, and electrical lines.

According to Bennett’s office, the second project entails a series of actions to increase Arab confidence in law enforcement and cooperation among local leaders. These include dismantling criminal organizations and reducing the number of illegal weapons held by individuals.

“It is clear to the entire government that the violence and crime on the Arab street constitute a threat to the State of Israel,” said Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, adding that though this is a five-year plan, “The test for [its implementation] will be in 2022—and we will succeed.”


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