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August 2020 Newsletter
Extension of Israeli State Budget deadline leaves Palestinian Arab community in crisis
At the last possible second, the Israeli Knesset voted to approve an extension of the deadline for the approval of a new state budget by 120 days - allowing Netanyahu to remain in power by avoiding the prospects of a new election (according to Israeli law, failure to pass a state budget results in the collapse of the ruling coalition and the holding of new elections). "Extending the deadline granted to the government to prepare the budget by 120 additional days will lead to a reduction in government services that were approved by previous government decisions," states Alya Zoabi, the Parliamentary and Legal Advocacy Coordinator at the Mossawa Center.

This is particularly troubling news to the Palestinian Arab community, which represents over 21% of the total population in Israel, given the already scarce funding it receives from the government due to systemic discrimination. Zoabi also added, "more than 50% of the Palestinian Arab population today lives below the poverty line, with an additional 25% of it living close to it. This means that a whopping 75% of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel live near or below the poverty line." With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a heavy toll on the community, the further withholding of vital funds to the community will have disastrous consequences.

In its recent analysis of the state budget, the Mossawa center revealed that the dire social and economic crisis in the Palestinian Arab community will only deepen if funds are not allocated to basic services that Arab municipalities already struggle to carry out.
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Less than 2% of taxes collected from the private sector in Israel go to Palestinian Arab municipalities
In a meeting on the issue of industrial zone development in Palestinian Arab localities, Mossawa Center founder Jafar Farah revealed that of the NIS 11 billion (~$3 billion) generated annually from business property taxes in Israel, a measly NIS 200 million (~$66 million) - less than 2% - are allocated to Palestinian Arab local authorities,with the rest going to Jewish local authorities. This is due to the Israeli government's deliberate and systemic discrimination and neglect towards the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel when it comes to the development of industrial zones in Arab localities. Moreover, a NIS 3 billion (~$1 billion) ministerial plan from 2018 for the development of Palestinian Arab localities did not receive any funding from the Ministry of Finance.

The meeting, hosted in the Palestinian Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in cooperation with the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Local Authorities, members of Joint List's economic development team, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, was attended by over 30 delegates from local authorities, political parties, civil society, and the private sector.

Joint List Knesset Member Dr. Yousef Jabareen pointed out "we must go to the courts to oblige planning bodies that prevent the development of our towns to appoint Arabs. Governmental authorities deprive our Arab towns of industrial zones, which are vital for their development, and affect the development of the entire Palestinian Arab community."

At the Mossawa Center's initiative, an Industrial Zones Task Force was established to develop industry in the Arab community. A follow-up team was formed to pursue the issue of industry, with representatives from the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Local Authorities, the Umm al-Fahm municipality, and the Knesset Members.
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Mossawa in the News
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The Swiss Deputy Ambassador visits the Mossawa Center
Swiss Deputy Ambassador Ana Lis Henin met with Mossawa Center founder Jafar Farah, and Waseem Nasser and Nour Abu Ghoush of the International Department to talk about the challenges of the Palestinian Arab community. The Deputy Ambassador was accompanied by Political Attaché Edward Laurent.

The Mossawa Center prepares papers and articles for international institutions and builds an international relationship network that specializes in the special status of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel. The Swiss representatives were given a detailed report of the Mossawa Center's work in the fields of legal and parliamentary advocacy, youth empowerment, solidarity, economic and social justice, and more.

The meeting revolved around the discussion of human rights, ending the occupation, economic development, legal status, and projects of the Mossawa Center. The meeting concluded with an agreement to organize future visits and meetings of the embassy in Palestinian Arab towns within Israel.
Donation of 12 paintings to educational institutions and departments in Jisr az-Zarqa as part of solidarity campaign 
In the culmination of a 3 day solidarity workshop in Jisr az-Zarqa with the Russian community in Israel, the Mossawa Center and Artists' Union held a special ceremony where 12 pieces of artwork created by artists from both inside and outside of Jisr az-Zarqa were donated to various institutions in the village.

The ceremony was attended by the group of artists along with representatives of the Mossawa Center, the German embassy, and representatives of the village's schools and local council. Local Council Head Murad Amash, Mossawa Center Executive Director Suha Salman Mousa, representative of the German Embassy Yvonne Sabin, and representative of the Union of Professional Artists in Israel Slava Elayev, spoke during the ceremony.

This workshop is a part of the Mossawa Center's campaign to build solidarity between the Palestinian Arab community and other marginalized groups in Israel, in order to help build a coalition advocating and demanding for peace and equality.
The Carmel Center - a hub for culture
In its work to promote cultural activities and art in the Palestinian Arab community, the Mossawa Center, in cooperation with the Committee for Educational Guidance for Arab Students, hosted Eidna Thaqafe in the Carmel Center - the home of the Mossawa Center.

To celebrate Eid al-Adha, the Mossawa Center hosted a cultural and artistic festival, open to all members of the community, from all ages and backgrounds.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a couple dozen of participants were allowed to take part in person; however, there was a livestream on Facebook where countless more were able to enjoy the events.

The festival was comprised of 3 main events:
  • A children's show packed with music and fun activities with Lina Dawood.
  • A stand-up comedy act with Ayman Nahhas.
  • A monologue with actor Afif Shlewit.
In addition to those events, there was a bazaar for handicrafts and ceramics and a book stand where people could take books they found interesting for free.
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