The ad campaign to encourage hiring Arab employees has generated hundreds of requests by private businesses for Arab workers. But it turns out that government ministries, which are behind the campaign, have what to be embarrassed about.
The Civil Service Commission's annual report for 2011 reveals that Arab and Druze workers made up only 6.1% of government employees.Government offices providing services to the Arab community have a much higher proportion of Arab employees: The Interior Ministry has 38.5% Arab and Druze employees, while the Social Affairs Ministry has 10%. The Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee has 16% Arab employees, but for all other ministries the figure is under 10%. At the bottom of the list is the Pensioner Affairs Ministry - without a single Arab employee. The Foreign Ministry has 1.5% and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry 1.1%.
In 2007, the government set a goal of employing Arabs in 10% of government jobs by the end of 2012. The Arab community makes up 20% of Israel's population, but the 10% target turns out to have been quite optimistic.
"If the minister or director general are not committed to the issue, it simply doesn't happen," said Iman Saif, director of the Authority for the Economic Development of the Arab, Druze and Circassian Sectors in the Prime Minister's Office.
Saif is very pleased with the campaign. After only a week, some 300 companies in a wide range of businesses have already asked the authority to help in locating workers. Some firms asked for only one, while others requested assistance in find as many as 15 new Arab employees.
Saif, his staff and the nonprofit Kav Mashveh - Employers' Coalition for Equality for Arab University Graduates are now trying to connect employers with Arab college graduates looking for work.
"Only a few employers asked about the incentives - subsidies of 25% of the new employee's salary for the first 30 months," said Saif. "Most are simply looking for workers."
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