NIS 15 billion in benefits to Arab sector may be delayed

The government’s plan to allocate 15 billion shekels ($3.8 billion) to the Arab sector as part of a five-year plan to improve infrastructure and reduce social gaps may be delayed, Israel Hayom learned on Wednesday.

The plan, formulated by a special ministerial committee and approved in December, offers a comprehensive outline to improve welfare, policing, employment, education, infrastructure, transportation and housing in the Arab sector across the next five years.

Committee members met Wednesday to discuss the plan’s implementation, but Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who co-chair the panel, said the plan must face a year-long review prior to its implementation.

Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel confronted the two over the delay, demanding the funds be allocated immediately. According to sources who were at the meeting, the argument soon turned into a shouting match.

Elkin and Levin said the review would focus on local Arab authorities’ compliance with regulations outlined in the plan as eligibility criteria, especially those aimed at preventing illegal construction and illegal weapons.