Israel okays $9 billion plan to fight gaps between Jewish and Arab citizens

The government approves a far-reaching plan that allocates NIS 30 billion ($9.4 billion) over five years to fight persistent gaps between Arab and Jewish Israelis.

Now passed by the cabinet, the proposal will head to the Knesset, where it is set to be passed alongside the state budget next month.

The plan includes NIS 9.6 billion (nearly $3 billion) to improve education in Arab cities and towns; NIS 5.2 billion ($1.6 billion) for Bedouin Arabs in the southern Negev desert; NIS 650 million ($202.7 million) to bridge health gaps between Arabs and Jews; NIS 2 billion (some $624 million) to improve Arab communities’ crumbling infrastructure, and more.

Passing such a plan was a key campaign promise of the Islamist Ra’am party, the first Arab Israeli faction to sit in the coalition in decades.

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