Netanyahu chairs meeting of Arab affairs panel, calls for ‘full integration’ of community

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

In this handout photo, Prime Minister chairs a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Issues in the Arab Community at his office in Jerusalem, July 11, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
In this handout photo, Prime Minister chairs a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Issues in the Arab Community at his office in Jerusalem, July 11, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Issues in the Arab Community, saying his government wants to further integrate Arab Israelis and address surging violent crime.

“We want full integration of the Arab community in Israeli society,” he says after the meeting. “We want to narrow the gaps [between Jewish and Arab Israelis] and achieve a full integration of the Arab community in Israel.”

The committee decided on the establishment of a subcommittee, which will also be chaired by Netanyahu, to fight against crime in the Arab community in Israel.

“Crime makes the lives of Arab Israeli citizens miserable and it is a national problem,” he says.

The subcommittee will decide, among other things, on the possible deployment of the Shin Bet alongside the police.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, an anti-violence monitoring group, 117 Arabs have been killed in homicides since the start of the year. With the latest killing today in the northern Arab village of Jatt, this year’s toll has already passed the 2022’s total of 116.

The ministerial committee, which was established last month, met at Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem and was chaired by the premier himself.

Other issues discussed at the meeting include the accessibility of mortgages for Arab citizens, the improvement of their Hebrew language skills, budget allocations for Arab employment and welfare.

The committee has come under criticism for including 18 Jewish ministers, among them far-right leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, but only one Arab official.

Most Popular