The Mossawa Center called on political parties, local authorities, and specialized civil society organizations to create parliamentary, media, and popular pressure before the Knesset approves the proposed budgets of government ministries for the years 2023-2024 in the coming weeks. The Mossawa Center warned against passing the budget without media and popular pressure as it would deepen discrimination against the Arab community and lead to an increase in budgets allocated to militarization and occupation, deepening economic and social discrimination against the Arab community.
Economist Mohammed Habiballah of the Social Economic Unit at the Mossawa Center prepared a comprehensive working paper on the proposed budgets for ministries and the demands of the Arab community regarding the budget proposal. The working paper relies on data regarding the gaps faced by the Arab community in the areas of education, employment, youth, poverty, health, industrial zones, agriculture, tourism, transportation, and social welfare. Habiballah reviewed these gaps and prepared a working paper that was circulated to Knesset members, civil society organizations, and local authorities for use in parliamentary advocacy in the coming weeks.
The Mossawa Center held a conference on the needs of Arab society from the state budget in the Knesset on May 9, in cooperation with Knesset Members Dr. Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al), Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash), and Iman Khatib-Yassin (Ra’am), the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Localities (NCALC), and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Heads of Arab local authorities, Knesset members, representatives of government offices, and thematic organizations were invited to acquaint themselves with the budget proposal and work to enlist parliamentary and popular support for the demands of the Arab community from the budget.
Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Center, emphasized the need at this stage to work at all levels to influence the budget proposal before its approval in order to close some of the gaps that deepen the educational, health, cultural, and employment crisis in the Arab community.
MK Tibi pointed out that the initiative to hold the urgent meeting at the Knesset aims to intensify coordination and pressure among Knesset Members and local authorities, which should implement the allocated budgets. “This conference is the cry of the Arab community before the approval of the budget, and we have addressed the chairman of the Finance Committee, Moshe Gafni, and a number of ministers and representatives of government offices to participate,” he said. He also added that Arab members of the Finance Committee have raised hundreds of reservations about the budget proposal and will make every effort to secure people’s rights in the budgets distributed by the government.
Mudar Younis, the president of NCALC, stated, “Arab local authorities are the first to be affected by the planned reduction of government budgets, and we have warned against reducing the budgets for transportation and the environment. The advisory team of the heads’ committee has been in contact with the Ministry of Finance, the Economic Development Authority, and the majority of ministries to ensure the approval of at least what was approved in Government Decisions 550 and 1279. We will intensify our presence in the Knesset until the budget is approved and follow up on the implementation of the decisions with various ministry teams.”
The Mossawa Center will release a full report on the demands from the budgets of different ministries in the coming days.