Arab Schools Back Down from Strike after Meeting with PM

A strike planned for local Arab authorities and educational institutions on Tuesday, September 1, was canceled after representatives of the Joint List met Monday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. According to an agreement reached between the Joint List and Netanyahu, 600 million shekels ($153 million) will be gradually transferred as part of a five-year plan to local authorities to disburse for the needs of the Arab sector in Israel. The parties agreed to an outline that calls for a multiyear economic integration program to be developed within 30 days. The programs are to be carried out by the relevant government ministries in full cooperation with representatives of the Arab authorities and Arab society.

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint List

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint List (Photo: Sonara)

The meeting included Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eli Groner, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh (Hadash), United Arab List’s Masud Gnaim, Balad head Jamal Zahalka and Ta’al’s Ahmad Tibi. The National Committee of Arab Heads of Municipal Authorities, headed by Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ganaim, also took part. “The Arab local authorities are struggling to try to give their citizens basic services,” MK Odeh said in a statement. “The school year that is about to start is not auspicious for the Arab citizens because our education system is on the verge of collapse due to continued neglect and discrimination. I hope that the prime minister will understand that it is a joint interest for all the citizens of the country to invest in education and in infrastructure, and to reduce the gaps in society.”

Racist Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman denounced on his Facebook page Monday night Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to transfer millions of shekels for the growth of the Arab sector. “The prime minister’s decision to give Ayman Odeh and his anti-Zionist partners an accomplishment in the form of transferring 600 million shekels to Arab municipalities is a shot in the foot of the Zionist state,” Liberman wrote.