The level of education in the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya is higher than that of Arabs in Israel, according to a socio-economic study performed by the Arab Center for Alternative Planning.
The study, presented Thursday in Nazareth, brought forth a long list of worrisome economic statistics indicating a grave situation for the Arab public in Israel.
Perhaps the most worrisome statistic of all is that the human development index of the Arab public in Israel ranks in 66th place out of 177 countries, 44 slots below the general ranking of the State of Israel.
The center, which sought to present a clearer picture of the socio-economic status of Arabs in Israel, asked two investigators to carry out the study on their behalf: Dr. Hanna Swaid, formerly the director-general of ACAP, and Raja Khoury, ACAP's administrative manager.
The study was commissioned in order to provide an answer to two central questions: How wide is the gap between the Arab population and the Jewish population in Israel, and what is the true socio-economic condition of the Arab population in relation to the world, including Arab countries?
Those conducting the study used the human development index (an index set up by the UN that measures development based on criteria such as education, health, and GDP per capita, rather than strict economic parameters) to measure the status of the Arabs in Israel in relation to the rest of the world.
Health level – lower than in Costa Rica, Cuba
The findings revealed a concerning picture: The HDI among the Arabs of Israel is 0.77, very similar to Libya. For Israel overall, the HDI is 0.9.
Moreover, in comparison with the rest of the world, Israel is ranked 22 out of 177 countries. However, when looking at only the Arab population, the ranking plummeted to 66.
This was also the case for health. The overall level of health in Israel was calculated at 0.9, while health amongst the Arab population was rated at 0.85, which is lower than countries like Costa Rica and Cuba.
The GDP per capita for Arabs in Israel also presents a concerning picture. The Arab sector's GDP per capita is a third of the GDP per capita of the Jewish sector, and is identical to the GDP per capita of Romania and Iran.
Other economic statistics in the survey shed light on the unequal situation: 90 percent of Arab Israelis live in towns ranked in the bottom three clusters of local councils, as compared to only seven percent of Jews who live in these conditions.
In addition, only one percent of Arabs lives in towns ranked in the five top clusters of local councils, as opposed to Jews, 76 percent of which live in the five top clusters of local councils.