Adalah sent a letter to the Nazaret Illit (Upper Nazareth) Municipality urging them to immediately fulfill their legal duty of ensuring adequate representation in their municipality of the Arab population in the city. Although Arab residents constitute more than 17% of the city’s population, the majority of departments in the municipality do not have any Arab employees. Furthermore, in 2014, Arab employees within certain departments decreased in number.
In her letter to the Nazaret Illit Municipality, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stressed that the data indicates a significant lack of representation of the Arab population in the municipal departments. For example, in 2014 there are 56 Israeli Jewish employees in the Legal, Finance and Accounting, Engineering and Public Information departments and only 1 Arab employee. In this context, Attorney Zaher wrote, “Without the slightest doubt, adequate representation of the Arab population in these departments is of great importance, because it affects the livelihood and sense of equality among thousands of Arab citizens who live in the city.”
Attorney Zaher stated in the letter that “Ensuring adequate representation of Arab citizens in public institutions is a legal duty…It is applicable to local authorities based on the government’s decision in this regard.” She added that: “The duty to ensure adequate representation of Arab citizens also appears in Supreme Court decisions which derive from the principle of equality and in which the Court recognized that local authorities need to immediately take the initiative to ensure adequate representation of the Arab population.”
Since 2011, Adalah has sent several letters to the Nazaret Illit municipality regarding the same issue, but the municipality has not yet taken the necessary action to correct the lack of representation.