Jerusalem, June 11 – The Israeli government, acting on the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has launched a campaign to encourage companies to hire university and college graduates from the country’s minority communities.
The government will give a cash grant to companies, especially in high-tech, that hire Arab, Druze and Circassian graduates in accounting, economics, law, business management, engineering and pharmaceutical studies, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Earlier this year, the IMF concluded that Israel’s fiscal policies helped its economy stay strong and avoid the world recession, but needed work in several areas including employing minorities – especially from the non-Jewish and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities.
“We must create conditions that will enable the full integration of Arab sector academics in the labor market,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We are committed to uphold equal opportunity for all. The Arab sector is a main growth engine for the Israeli economy, which has yet to be fully utilized.”
Like other countries, Israel has been fighting prejudice problems against various minority communities. While equal rights are enshrined by law in Israel, the current campaign is designed to raise awareness and break stigmas by using incentives for employers to hire minorities.
The IMF study earlier this year included Israeli government officials and representatives of interest groups including the Arab-Israeli community, and leaders of Arab-Israeli women’s organizations. The officials concluded that if the employment and wage levels in Arab and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities were on a par with the rest of the population, Israeli economic output would increase by 15 percent and annual fiscal revenues would jump by five percent of the GDP – or about $12 billion.