Shlomo Alegra

How Bad do Israeli Arabs have it?

Since the existence of the State of Israel there has been ongoing debates on how well Israeli Arabs do within the Jewish State.

Advocates for Israeli Arabs will say that Israeli Arabs are third class citizens and denied the same advantages as Jews.

Others say Israeli Arabs are equal under the law and have equal advancement in Israeli society like any other citizen.

So the real question is which statement is more accurate?

Unlike the US Constitution that guarantees rights to American citizens, Israel has laws of Basic Laws that determine how the state should run and guarantees rights to its citizens.

Following the Basic laws, Israel also has numerous laws outlawing any kind of discrimination based on race and ethnicity:

Employment Law- Passed in 1988 prohibited discrimination at workplaces based on, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, fertility treatment, parenting, age, race, religion, nationality, country of origin, residence, political view, or reservist duty.

The Cooperative Societies Ordinance prohibits admission committees from refusing to accept a person to a community settlement on the grounds of race, religion, sex, nationality, disability, personal status, parenthood, sexual orientation, country of origin, political views or party membership

The Students’ Rights Law – 2007 prohibits academic institutions from discriminating against applicants due to socioeconomic status, religion, nationality, sex, or place of residence.

Technically on paper Arab Israelis are supposed to be protected against any form of discrimination.

Many people from the Arab sector complain that it is difficult to get work when you have an Arab name.

Others claim that they do not get the same budget for their cities like Jewish citizens receive.

Arab Citizens are significantly poorer and make less money than their Jewish counterparts.

According to the Israeli Democratic Institute:

“According to the report, the percentage of poor families in the Arab sector rose from 51.7 percent in 2013 to 52.6 percent in 2014. Just as worrisome is that according to the statistics, 37.4 percent of Israel’s poor are Arab Israelis, though Arab Israelis make up only about 20 percent of the Israeli population. The percentage of poor Jewish families barely changed in 2014; technically, the rate decreased from 13.7 percent to 13.6 percent, though there is a margin of error.”

Report from the Israeli Democratic Institute showed that Arab Israeli were more likely to live in poverty than their Jewish counterparts.

One of the most recent reports on the wellbeing of Israeli Arabs was reported in Bloomberg by Yaacov Ben Meleh:

“On paper, the community enjoys equal rights with the Jewish majority, but nearly 40% lives in poverty rooted in a weaker educational system and poorer access to basic infrastructure. A proliferation of illegal guns and tribal violence has resulted in a 50% jump in the murder rate over the past four years, yet Arab neighborhoods suffer from a lack of policing.”

Benmeleh’s report this year still shows a significant amount of poverty among the Arab sector and a lack of security.

According to Ronny Linder from Ha’aretz:

“Of all government jobs, Arabs fulfill 6.8%; in the government healthcare system, they fill 12.4% of jobs; in nursing studies (including geriatric), 42% of students are Arab; pharmaceuticals has become identified with the Arab community – 38% of druggists are Arab; at the Superpharm drugstore chain, 62% of the pharmacists are Arabs. And in medicine itself, the proportion of Arabs is roughly akin to their proportion in the population. In 2015, 16% of all medical students were Arab; at the Technion medical school, Arabs were 38% of students and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 31%.”

It seems to be the majority of Arabs are very much involved in the field of medicine where the average wage is fairly middle class.
It seems to be the lack of Arab-Israelis in certain industries may be to Arabs choosing to go into medicine instead of Hi-Tech
In regards to Arabs receiving inferior education in their communities may be caused by them voting for politicians who do not act within their interest.
In Israel it is the job of the municipality to request the proper funds to run their institutions.
If they are not receiving proper funding to their educational institutions they should look towards their own local politicians.
In regards to crime in their community there is a serious problem of locals not cooperating with law enforcement to catch criminals.
It is difficult to see as a whole how well off the Israeli community is because many of the reports are more than a decade old.
There has to be more up to date research done to determine what the real economic status of the Arab-Israeli community as a whole is like.

According to the Nas Daily in a video done two years ago shows a prosperous community living in Lebanon:

About the Author
Shlomo was born in Miami, Florida in 1989 and moved to Israel in 2012. He holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science and served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. After serving in the military Shlomo studied in Yeshivat Shavie Hevron where he lived in Hebron. He now lives in Kiryat Arba, is a proud reservist in the Golani Brigade, and is a blogger for the Times of Israel.