Photo: Ziv Koren, GPO
The government has decided to define all the Arab communities in Israel as class A development area in terms of capital investment in the fields of tourism and industry. Development areas in the country are eligible to state funding and tax benefits, aimed at encouraging businessmen to invest there.
The decision bears far-reaching significance, as it would allow dozens of Arab communities to receive various benefits from the government.
The law to encourage capital investments in Israel enables entrepreneurs to receive assistance in establishing industrial factories, hotels and tourist attractions.
Notably, the first mall in the Arab sector in Israel opened recently in Um el-Fahem at a NIS 40 million (roughly USD 9 million) investment. The Abed al-Latif mall, named after its owner, spans across five stories and some 140,000 square feet. The first two floors host a variety of 18 stores, while the other three are dedicated to Latif's furnishing empire.
Residents hope that the mall will increase the town's appeal to tourist and bring an inflow of visitors to Um al-Fahem's other attractions, including the local gallery and restaurants.