Braverman: Israel Should Embrace Its Arabs, Haredim

Minister of Minority Affairs says Israel has the most unequal society amongst western nations.

Israel should do more to integrate its Arab and Haredi sectors, Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman said on Tuesday, the third day of the "Democracy and its Challenges" conference sponsored by the French Embassy in cooperation with Haaretz.

"David Ben Gurion wanted Israel to be a light onto the nations – a moral leader and a nation of justice and equality," Braverman said. "This requires long-term vision, which is tough in a world where what is pressing pushes aside what is important, when we are enslaved by ratings and finances."

Braverman said that the Haredim should be embraced in the workplace and that more resources should be allocated for Arabs. He said he is working on a plan for the coming decade incorporating those goals.

"Thus we will realize Ben Gurion's vision of a nation that is a renewable light unto the nations," he said.

"We have more startups than Europe. We succeeded in building a terrific state – the state of Tel Aviv. But Israel is Carthage, without the Negev. We have the most unequal society among western nations. When we founded the nation, we were one of the most equal societies."

Regarding the situation with the Gaza flotilla, Braverman said there is much tension in the Israeli Arab community.

"It is absolutely legitimate in a democracy for there to be demonstrations but Israeli Arab leaders have promised to act with restraint and I also told the Internal Security minister that the police should act to avoid contact with the Arab population," he said.