I must say that I won’t repeat the things I said last year, but I will continue what I started to say then. Change in the realm of integration of Arabs into the Israeli economy in recent years is important. Beyond the Green Line, there are Arabs of the same nationality as those in Israel, but they are also part of the Palestinian nation. They have decided, directly or indirectly, to disconnect from us, at least economically.
Israel is an immigrant country, such that something has been created here, which many people call a “foreign element.” This foreign element has brought productivity, but this productivity is disproportionate to the size of this foreign element’s population.
It must be understood that the State of Israel was part of the global village even before the concept was born. There is a problem so long as there is no similarity between Israel’s environment and our different export capacity and the unindustrialized surrounding in which Israel is.
The Arabs in Israel could, at least in the past, chose and decide whether they want to be part of the Israeli economy. This is also true today. There are two problems among the Arabs that don’t allow integration into the Israeli economy. The pattern of their internal leadership: The Arabs of the Galilee and the Center have different leadership patterns than those in the south. They are practically two different nations. In a publication that was published by the Abraham Fund, one can see that there is a connection between high natural growth and economic parameters. In other words, when there are few students and few women who work, there is ultimately little income. One can see that if there are more than three children in a family, it is hard to create capital.
However, one needs to see that there is a process, a certain trend of change. Natural growth has decreased. This is a clear trend. It is true that women in the Arab sector work less than women in the Jewish sector, but there is a process of improvement. There has been a decrease in natural growth, so we are seeing that people indeed can go out and work.
The leaders can say whatever they want, but the statistics show that in the center and the north of the country, Arabs are like all other sections of the society – they are approaching the same household structure that allows them to integrate into the Israeli economy.
The advancement of higher education among men and women is thanks to the endogenous process that is dependent on Arabs themselves. They are undergoing a process of Westernization.
There is a problem. We are blocked from and are blocking the path of the Arab public from becoming part of the cutting edge of the Israeli economy. In hi-tech, for instance, we don’t create a friendly environment. Arabs do well, just as Jews in Germany in the 19th century when they weren’t allowed to work in certain professions. Jews in this situation turned to a kind of service industry, for which there was growing need.
We must stop closing, for instance, the medical departments of universities so that they will increasingly go to these areas. In addition, we need to increase the options for Arabs to enter public service positions such as medicine, teaching, and business. Why shouldn’t it be mentioned that a large percentage of bed and breakfasts in the North are not run by Jews. Some doors have been closed to Arabs, but we need to help them create alternatives. This is a market economy. If Arabs successfully break into the fields of medicine and teaching, this means that they can be part of the Israeli market, and we, therefore, need to give them a helping hand.