Equality Policy Department

The EPD’s main activities include mapping the existing barriers within the government ministries and the Arab local governments that lead to unequal allocation of state resources to the Arab citizens and advocacy activities for policy change.

The department is led by two directors, an Arab and a Jew, and includes research and advocacy coordinators and a research unit. The department leads Sikkuy’s actions for changing government policy and reducing and eliminating the gaps between the Arab and Jewish citizens.


Since the 1990’s, Sikkuy along with other civil society organizations has worked to create awareness and recognition of the gaps between Arabs and Jews in Israel in all socio-economic fields and in policy. Today, there is a wide consensus among Israeli policy-makers that the gaps exist and that they should be narrowed. There must be an examination of the processes and barriers within the government and the Arab citizens that prevent equal apportionment of the resources.

It is important to note that because of the unique characteristics of the Arab community and the gaps that are the result of decades of discrimination, it is primarily the responsibility of the government to eliminate the barriers to equality (in terms of the outcomes) in an efficient, equal, timely (planning and budgeting) and accessible manner (regionally, economically, socially and culturally). We realize that there are barriers from within the Arab community as well, but the government should regard these as realities that must be dealt with in the planning and implementation stages. On the other hand, this obligates the Arab population, as individuals and as a community, and mostly at the level of the local municipalities, to overcome these internal barriers and the barriers within the government ministries in order to secure additional resources.

The department’s goals

  • Identifying the barriers and processes within the government bureaucracy that prevent equal distribution of government resources to the Arab citizens.
  • After a process of mapping the barriers, formulating policy recommendations for apportioning state resources equally to the Arab citizens and actions to implement these recommendations and policy changes.
  • Developing direct and effective modes of cooperation between the government officials and the Arab municipalities.

Fields of activities

After an extensive dialogue with the Prime Minister’s office in 2008, it was decided that the EPD would focus its activities on the following government bodies:  the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice. In recent years additional ministries were added including the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Finance. The areas of activity include: public transportation, employment, child day-care and others. These ministries and issues were chosen based on criteria which include: the scope of inequality, the impact of the inequality on Arab citizens and Sikkuy’s capacity to generate change in the government and more.

A large proportion of resources allocated to the Arab community is transmitted through Arab local councils and municipalities. Therefore Sikkuy’s work cannot be wide-raging and effective without working with both the governmental authorities and the local municipalities.  Consequently Sikkuy facilitates effective cooperation between decision-makers on both the governmental and local level.

Promoting successful government plans

The EPD works closely with the Authority for the Economic Development of the Arab, Druze and Circassian Sectors in the Prime Minister’s office to maximize the successful implementation of a number of governmental plans for socio-economic development in Arab communities. Sikkuy works vis a vis both the government ministries as well as the Arab municipalities participating in the plans.

The department supervises the advancement and implementation of government decision #1539 of 2010 to promote economic development in a number of Arab towns and cities (also known as the “Five-Year Plan”). The government has allocated 780 million shekels to 13 Arab cities that comprise more than 400,000 citizens for infrastructure, housing, public transportation, industrial zones and other projects.

Moreover, the EPD monitors the government’s decision #4432 of 2012 that added 58 Arab towns to the Five-Year Plan.

 Implementation process

The process of mapping the barriers takes place in cooperation with leading ministry staff and senior staff of the Arab municipalities. The mapping process examines the way in which government resources are transferred to the Arab citizens and the actions of the Arab municipalities vis a vis the government ministries.  Sikkuy identifies the barriers to equality policies, formulates policy recommendations, publishes the barriers and the recommendations and works directly with the government ministries and the Arab municipalities to modify the policies in accordance with the recommendations.

Within the framework of the department, Sikkuy developed a path breaking and innovative model,  “From Barriers to Opportunities”  which identifies barriers to equality and formulates policy recommendations that are achievable.  The model enables an in-depth decoding of the causes of unequal allocation of resources and budgets to the Arab community in Israel. This is one of Sikkuy’s greatest professional accomplishments in examining the government’s policies toward the Arab citizens. The model was successfully utilized in various fields and as of 2013 Sikkuy has published a number of “From Barriers to Opportunities”  policy documents, including: Day-Care Frameworks for Children at Risk Up to Age 3, The Legal Aid Offices, Land Registration in Arab Society in Israel, The Marketing of State-owned Land for Development and Construction in Arab Communities, The Allocation of the Welfare Ministry’s Budgets and Social Worker Positions to Social Service Departments in Arab Local Authorities and the most recent policy report summarized recommendations concerning public transportation in Arab towns and cities.

On the basis of these reports Sikkuy has worked intensively with government ministries and Arab local authorities and succeeded in advancing significant changes in government policies in various areas.


From the press

Economic equality is an unconditional right

Rawnak Natour and Abed Kanaaneh, +972 Magazin, 4.02.16

Full report

‘This shows it is possible to transform Israel into a just society’: Ron Gerlitz on the Arab Economic Development Plan

Ron Gerlitz, Fathom, 12.01.16

Full report

Partnership With Its Arab Citizens Will Determine Israel’s Future

Odeh Bisharat, Ha'aretz, 11.01.16

Full report

The win-win plan to advance the Arab sector

Abed Kanaaneh, Jerusalem Post, 7.01.16

Full report

The Civil Service Commission resumes publishing reports: The state has failed to integrate Arabs into the public sector

Gil Kelian, Calcalist, 9.12.15

“The continual increase in the percentage of Arab employees in the Civil Service, from 6.2 percent in 2007 to 9.3 percent in 2014, is worthy of mention, although the target that the government set for itself for 2012 is being achieved after a two-year delay,” Attorney Samah Alkhatib-Ayoub, a research coordinator and advocacy specialist in the Equality Policy Department of Sikkuy-the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, told Calcalist.

Full report

Collective Punishment: Arabs in Israel Face the Sack Because They’re Arabs

Rawnak Natour and Ron Gerlitz, Ha'aretz, 29.10.15

Full report

As parents demand secure schools, Arab staff eyed suspiciously

Jessica Steinberg, The Times Of Israel, 21.10.15

Full report

Israeli Towns Move to Ban Arab Workers From Schools

Yarden Skop, Ha'aretz, 18.10.15

Full report

What Israel can do today for economic equality

Nitzan Tenami, +972 Magazin, 19.09.15

Full report

Israeli Arab towns have very few daycare centers

Samah Alkhatib Ayoub and Shirley Racah, Globes, 9.09.15

Full report

Arabs flock, but not to the Civil Service

Gil Kelian, Calcalist, 19.08.15

Full report

Why there are no daycare centers in Arab towns

Samah Alkhatib Ayoub and Shirley Racah, The Marker, 8.07.15

In the absence of a joint organized effort by the government ministries to deal with the planning barriers and the shortage of public land, the underutilization of the substantial budgets by Arab Local Authorities will continue.

Full report

Arabs in Wadi Ara warn: “If it won’t be good for us, it won’t be good for you, and that’s not a threat”

Tali Heruti-Sover, Ha'aretz, 3.04.15

The residents of Umm al-Fahm get stuck in a traffic jam every morning when they leave the city - In nearby Ara-Arara there are no buses - Both towns suffer from a shortage of daycare centers, and hope that someday industrial zones will be built there - Meanwhile they can only envy the investment in Jewish communities

Full report

The Arab woman’s stone ceiling

Samah Alkhatib-Ayoub , The Times of Israel, 23.03.15

While most Arab women continued to dream, the right place and time enabled me to progress towards the realization of my aspirations. These days I wonder: Where are the Arab women in this story? Are they allowed to dream?

Full report

Arab women want to go to work – but have no way to get there

Samah Alkhatib-Ayoub and Abed Kanaaneh, The Marker, 10.02.15

Full report

Fighting discrimination

Editorial, Jerusalem Post, 9.02.15

“As a result, in Arab towns, 78% of arnona tax revenues are from households, compared to a nationwide average of 34%, according to a study by Injaz Center for Professional Arab Local Governance and Sikkuy – the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality.”

Full report

New signs at bus stops: not in Arabic

Merav Kristal, Ynet, 18.01.15

Full report


Government Tenders – The Key to a Breakthrough in the Employment of Arabs in the Private Sector

Reaserch & Writing: Nitzan Tenami and Roi Grufi
Editing: hirley Racah, Jabir Asaqla, Ron Gerlitz, Rawnak Natour, and Yair Sakov
Date of Publication: 28.11.16

The full document: العربية עברית English

A position paper on public transportation in Arab communities submitted to the Knesset subcommittee on public transportation

Reaserch & Writing: Sikkuy Equality Policy Department
Date of Publication: 14.02.16

The full document: עברית English

Infographics: Fair representation through government tenders

Reaserch & Writing: Nitzan Tenami
Date of Publication: 5.08.15

The full document: עברית English

From Deficits and Dependence to Balanced Budgets and Independence – The Arab Local Authorities’ Revenue Sources

Reaserch & Writing: Michal Belikoff and Safa Ali Agbaria
Editing: Shirley Racah Jerusalem
Date of Publication: 27.10.14

The full document: עברית English

Who’s in Favor of Equality?

Who's in Favor of Equality? Reaserch & Writing: Nohad Ali and Shai Inbar
Editing: Ron Gerlitz and Yasmine Halevi
Date of Publication: 7.09.11

Equality between Arabs and Jews in Israel: Summary of an Opinion Survey

The full document: العربية עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: עברית

The Allocation of the Welfare Ministry’s Budget and Social Worker Positions to Social Services Departments in the Arab Local Authorities

From Barriers to Opportunities Reaserch & Writing: Michal Belikoff and Maha Abu - Saleh
Editing: Ron Gerlitz
Date of Publication: 6.09.11

The full document: עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: עברית English

The Marketing of State – Owned Land for Development and Construction in Arab Communities – A Summary

"מחסמים לסיכויים" Reaserch & Writing: Hagit Naali - Joseph
Editing: Ron Gerlitz
Date of Publication: 1.09.11

The full document: العربية עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: עברית English

Land Registration in the Arab Society in Israel

מחסמים לסיכויים - מסמך מדיניות מס' 2 Reaserch & Writing: Ruth Sar Shalom and Ruth Weinschenk - Vennor
Editing: Ron Gerlitz
Date of Publication: 15.07.11

The full document: עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: עברית English

The Sikkuy Report 2009

The Sikkuy Report 2009 Reaserch & Writing: Alaa Hamdan, Yaser Awad
Editing: Ali Haider, Adv.
Date of Publication: 1.12.10

The Equality Index of Jewish and Arab Citizens in Israel

The full document: العربية עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: العربية עברית English

From Barriers to opportunities

מחסמים לסיכויים - הדרך לשוויון בין האזרחים הערבים והיהודים בישראל Reaserch & Writing: Maha Abu-Salih, Michal Belikoff, Ron Gerlitz and Ruth Weinschenk-Vennor
Editing: Ron Gerlitz
Date of Publication: 15.08.10

mapping the barriers and policy recommendations for achieving equality between the Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel - Policy Paper #1

The full document: العربية עברית English

The Sikkuy Report 2008

מדד השוויון בין האזרחים היהודים והערבים בישראל - 2008 Reaserch & Writing: Yaser Awad , Manar Mahmoud
Editing: Ali Haider , Adv .
Date of Publication: 1.11.09

The Equality Index of Jewish and Arab Citizens in Israel

The full document: العربية עברית English
A message from the co-executive directors: עברית English