Sikkuy Leads a Campaign for Arab Representation in the Workplace

Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality is leading a campaign that is encouraging state companies to increase the representation of Arabs among their employees.

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up more than 20% of Israel’s population. However, the percentage of Arab employees in the 62 government-owned companies is only 2.5%. After passing legislation in 2000 that required appropriate representation of Arab directors in government companies, the proportion of directors rose from 1% in 2000 to 12% in 2017. A similar law requiring proper representation of Arab workers in government offices raised the representation rate in government offices from 4.8% in 2000 to 11.3% in 2018.

MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List party has proposed a new law that would require adequate representation of Arab workers in state-owned companies – and not just as the senior ranks. This would impact companies like the Israel Electric Company, Israel Railways, and the Haifa Port.

Sikkuy is campaigning to support this legislation.

Roi Grufi, Sikkuy’s project coordinator for equal employment, argues that the underrepresentation of Arabs in these companies translates into fewer investments in the needs of the Arab sector. Other relatively-poor populations — such as the ultra-Orthodox community, which is encouraged to work in government companies — fare better.

Grufi is calling on the newly-appointed Civil Service Commissioner, Professor Daniel Hershkovitz, to work to achieve the existing official goals, which are legally binding. “Known issues and solutions exist,” he explains. “The task before the new Civil Service Commissioner is to implement them.”

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November 2018