The Mossawa Center Hosts Socio-Economic Development Conference

The Mossawa Center hosts a socio-economic development conference for the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel, in cooperation with local municipality members, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, and the Department of Local Government Studies at the University of Tel Aviv.
The conference aims to observe and study the budgets and funding commissioned to the Palestinian Arab minority in the state budget, and is held annually since 1999 in cooperation with local authority figures and government representatives. The conference will be held at the University of Tel Aviv, and will discuss the shortcomings in state budgeting, as well as prevailing issues in Palestinian Arab localities and villages.
The Israeli government recently adopted Government Decision 550 in October of 2021, a state budget plan that requires 5.5 billion shekels ($1.6 billion) to implement. However, due to political deadlock, advancements in the implementation of GD550 have been frozen. Palestinian Arab local authorities and ministries still await budgets for new housing projects, transportation, environmental protection, education, social welfare and more
Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, asserted, “The Palestinian Arab community deserves to receive funding and resources regardless of the ruling government coalition. We [the Palestinian Arab community] are tax paying citizens, and it’s our right to obtain government investment to close the gaps and socio-economic disparities in the country. We keep up with the Ministry of Finance’s requests to the Finance Committee to transfer budgets on a weekly basis.”
Yehudit Stelmach, of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, stated, “In order to advance the economy of the Palestinian Arab community, we must focus our effort on advancing the economy of all sectors and diversifying the work force, thereby benefitting everyone.”
“The conference presents the importance of analyzing and discussing government budgets for the economic development of the Palestinian Arab community,” stated Mudar Younis, Chairman of the Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities. He also points to the importance of investing in industrial areas and finding solutions to the housing, transportation, education, health, and social welfare crises.
The conference will discuss a number of themes, including the economy of Palestinian Arab local authorities, the promotion of self-sustained income, and the expansion of projects that enhance the income of Palestinian Arab local authorities.
Most revenues of Arab local authorities are currently based on taxes imposed on residential real estate (Arnona), which hinders the development of economic projects.
The last session of the conference will discuss investing in Palestinian Arab youth, who make up about 25% of the community, through integration into higher education, vocational training, and government employment programs. The percentage of Palestinian Arab students in universities is around 17%.
The conference will be held on Thursday, February 21, 2022, between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm, at Tel Aviv University, in the presence of representatives from government ministries, economists, heads of Arab local authorities, and private companies.


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