Israeli minister puts Arab women's employment in the spotlight

Published November 5th, 2015 - 09:00 GMT

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel said on Wednesday she was overseeing a five-year plan aimed at improving the employment of Arab women.

“There is a need to address the barriers faced by Arab women,” Gamliel told MKs at a conference held at the Knesset about how to ease the high rate of joblessness among Arab women.

“I am leading a five-year plan in the Arab sector to encourage employment of women. The focus is on the theme of mobility and education,” she said.

Zionist Union faction chairwoman Merav Michaeli and the party’s MK Zouheir Bahloul organized the conference in cooperation with the Abraham Fund Initiatives, an NGO that seeks to improve coexistence between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Arye Deri (Shas) were also at the meeting.

“The most pressing challenge in Arab society today is the fact that our youth (from 18-25) are chronically unemployed, disconnected from the labor market and without real opportunity to develop their skills and integrate in the workforce,” said Nagam Nasrallah, coordinator of the Abraham Fund’s youth employment initiative.

“We ask that the state takes notice of this age group, known as “the invisible generation” and the work of the Abraham Fund in running youth empowerment groups, which tackles this problem,” Nasrallah said.

MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) told The Jerusalem Post she has been advancing a practical employment project for women in the periphery to boost women entrepreneurs in their efforts to start their own small businesses by supplying school dinners to local schools in the framework of the Mana Hama program.

“As such the program will provide a true opportunity to women who until now have not been able to find employment due to longstanding discrimination,” she said, adding that the lack of public transport in some Arab localities also inhibits them.

By Ariel Ben Solomon


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