Arab MKs Win NIS 900 Million Budget Supplement

YERUSHALAYIM -

Under threat of a general strike, Arab leaders extracted an additional 900 million shekels for local authorities from the Israeli government, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

The agreement outlines a five-year program to fund a range of needs, including police and security, community and nature centers and youth groups. The parties agreed to formulate a multi-year economic integration program to be put on paper within 30 days.

The programs are to be implemented by the relevant government ministries in cooperation with the Arab communities.

“I am the prime minister of all citizens of Israel, and the aid plan that we agreed on today is a significant correction and another step designed to integrate Israeli Arabs into Israeli society as equals,” Netanyahu said.

The final meeting was attended by Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eli Groner, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh (Hadash), United Arab List’s Masud Gnaim, Balad head Jamal Zahalka, Ta’al’s Ahmad Tibi, and Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ganaim, who represented the National Committee of Arab Heads of Municipal Authorities.

After the meeting, the Arab leaders met in Nazareth to decide on formal acceptance of the government offer.

However, there were indications that it will be enough to satisfy them and avert a strike. Tibi welcomed the prime minister’s and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s response to the demand of the Joint List leaders, saying that this is a decision in the right direction.