The Committee of Local Arab Authorities has announced that it will be calling for a general strike to begin today (Tuesday, May 5), to protest the serious financial neglect it is facing from the far-right the government amidst the coronavirus crisis.
“The losses to the local governments in the Arab communities are estimated to be tens of millions of shekels a month, but the government continues to abandon us and not raise a finger,” Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday afternoon, May 2. “I back this important decision [to call for a strike] and demand that government ministries remember that 20% of its citizens are Arabs and they too must cope with the crisis.”
Most Arab towns in Israel fear that the coronavirus epidemic has still not peaked in their vicinity, and therefore they must be provided with more resources to combat the spread. The head of the Ar’ara local council in northern Israel, Mudar Yunes, said that “the Israeli government can’t leave our villages in a state of chaos and without help.”
Following a Saturday night meeting, local Arab leaders defied the Education Ministry, saying the entire Arab community will not be reopening its schools this week, counter to the ministry’s instructions to open schools for the first to third and eleventh and twelfth grades. They claim the rate of infections in the Arab community remain higher than in Jewish communities, and cited logistical difficulties in properly preparing to reopen under budgetary limitations.