MK Mansour Abbas, chairperson of the Ra'am party who, by joining the current government, secured budgets for the five-year plan for Israel's Arab population, says that his party has brought change to Israel as a whole. In a speech at an event to launch the five-year economic plan, which is named "Takadum" ("Progress") in Arabic, Abbas said, "The time is past in which we were another statistic lacking any influence or significance in Israeli politics, and the time is past in which our programs were called by some random number series. Today, our plans have a name, significance, and a purpose.
"The Takadum five-year economic plan for Arab society comes with a name that proclaims its goal - to achieve progress, and not leave Arab society behind. This is the change that Ra'am has brought to Israeli and Arab society, this is the real meaning of influence and the change in the status of Arab society in the state."
Abbas criticized those who he tried were trying to undermine the program, without saying whom exactly he meant. "I call on all those who are trying to make it fail: move on," he said.
Minister for Social Equality Meirav Cohen, whose ministry is responsible for implementation of the program, said, "In every measure of the Israeli economy and socio-economic standing, commentators say, 'If we exclude the Arabs and the haredim, our position is good.' We don’t want to exclude anybody; we want everyone to be in the same position."
Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej turned to Ministry of Finance Deputy Budgets Director Tzahi David and said, "You’re the one's holding up the five-year plan, you're the ones responsible. You came here and spoke, and all the heads of the Arab local authorities heard you. Act flexibly and not rigidly."
Commenting on the high crime rate among Israeli Arabs, Minister of Public Security Omer Barlev said, "Dealing with crime can by itself suffice for a while, but unless Arab society connects with economic society there will be no progress. In a word, it's called discrimination. Discrimination has many aspects, and unfortunately it has been around for may years. Those most affected are the young, and it has led to the fact that 40% of Arab young people are unemployed, and unemployment leads to crime."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 24, 2021.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.