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Despite What You May Read, Israeli Arabs Doing Well

02-01-2018
Israeli Arab at Work, Photo, CBN News

JERUSALEM, Israel – Life for Israeli Arabs is not so bad. In fact, it's getting better all the time. Studies show education, career opportunities and employment for Israeli Arabs are improving.

Increasingly, Israeli Arabs are integrating into Israeli society.

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that many Arabs are finding more opportunities in the city's Jewish neighborhoods

Marik Shtern, with the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, said in many ways Israeli Arabs and Jews have a shared interest in the opportunities in the city.

In a comprehensive commentary entitled "Israeli Arabs' Growing Israeli Identity," journalist Evelyn Gordon provides statistics showing that 54 percent of Israel's Arab residents identify as Israeli rather than Palestinian. Many of them, she wrote, have a favorable view of Israel and describe it as a positive place to live.

"Moreover, 63 percent deemed Israel a 'positive' place to live, compared to 34 percent who said the opposite. 60 percent had a favorable view of Israel, compared to 37 percent whose view was unfavorable," she wrote.

The government's investment in Arab schools is also bearing fruit.

"The government has also invested more money in Arab schools, which – together with a new emphasis on education within the Arab community – has helped boost students' performance," Gordon explains. "The proportion of students taking the matriculation exams is now roughly the same for Arabs and Jews, and while more Jews still pass, the gap has narrowed. Indeed, two Arab high schools now rank first and second in the country for academic achievement."

Gordon also points out success stories from Tsofen, an Israeli NGO (nongovernmental organization) founded in 2008 that focuses on educating and placing Israeli Arabs in the nation's booming hi-tech industry. The results speak for themselves.

And there are many more success stories among Israeli Arabs.

A study released at the start of the 2017-2018 school year by the Taub Center showed the scholastic achievements of Israeli Arab students continues its forward trend.

Led by Nachum Blass, the study showed the gap between Arab and Jewish students has narrowed significantly, with Arab students surpassing their Jewish counterparts in some areas. What's needed, Blass concludes, is more focus on socioeconomic issues.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has been at the forefront of the municipality's efforts to strengthen the city's Arab neighborhoods.

Following a visit last week to the Safafa-Sharafat neighborhood, Barkat tweeted, "All the city's residents are my residents, all the city's children are my children. I will continue to develop our eternal capital #Jerusalem for all."

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