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Israel to invest $5.6 million in Arab high-tech sector

Ministerial Committee on Arab Sector Affairs approves funds for a program to help minority communities integrate into high-tech labor market • Economy Minister Eli Cohen: Israeli-Arab sector's contribution to the workforce will impact many fields.

Jews and Arabs play backgammon during the “Jerusalem Double” championship on Feb. 27, 2017. The competition aims to foster Jewish-Arab unity in Israel. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Jews and Arabs play backgammon during the “Jerusalem Double” championship on Feb. 27, 2017. The competition aims to foster Jewish-Arab unity in Israel. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The Ministerial Committee on Arab Sector Affairs announced on Tuesday that the government had invested 4.5 billion shekels ($1.3 billion) in the sector in the last two years.

Established in 2015, the committee counts among its members Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu).

During the meeting, the committee announced it would invest NIS 20 million ($5.6 million) in a new program aimed at helping integrate minority communities in the high-tech labor market.

According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the committee, the government was on track to meet the committee’s goals of investing NIS 15 billion ($4.2 billion) in the Israeli-Arab sector by 2020 in order to “reduce the social and economic gaps between the minority sectors and the general population in Israel, through changing the mechanisms for allocation [of funds].”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Gamliel said the goal of the plan was to bring the Arab sector’s performance in the fields of infrastructure, transportation, education and employment up to par with that of the general population.

Gamliel said, “The fact the plan was so successful is a testament to the government’s commitment cutting across ministries and party lines.”

Several representatives from a number of government offices were in attendance at the meeting.

Cohen said that “the promotion of industry and employment in the minority sectors is of strategic importance to the reduction of gaps, economic prosperity and for social mobility. The integration of the sector into the workforce is in the economic interest of the State of Israel, and its contribution will impact many fields.”

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