The government is failing to meet its goal of increasing the number of Arabs in the Civil Service.
According to data submitted Wednesday to the Knesset committee of parliamentary inquiry on Arab employment in the Civil Service, Arabs currently make up 6.7% of civil service employees, as opposed to the stated 8% goal for 2010. The government aims to boost the share to 10% by 2012.
The data also suggested that the majority of Arabs are employed by various health services.
Committee Chairman Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al), said that the government has no chance of meeting its goal, and urged to impose "financial sanctions on government ministries that refuse to hire Arabs."
"I would rather see an Arab director general that could change things in a government office that have five Arab ministers in the government, doing nothing," he said.
The representation of Arabs in the civil service is shameful, he added, warning of a "vicious cycle" preventing Arab employees from rising up the ranks of the civil service. "Promotions are decided through internal tenders and candidates are almost always Jewish. The Arab minority doesn’t apply – they know they don't stand a chance because of their minute numbers."
Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander tried to excuse the fact that the goal is not being met, by saying that "few Arabs apply to civil service tenders."
"I cannot force the outcome of a tender in favor of an Arab candidate, and I most certainly have no say in appointing directors general. High-ranking positions are managed by locator committees. Each positions sees dozens of Jewish candidate, but rarely Arab ones," he said.
Hollander added he hoped internal tenders will soon see an improvement on the matter.
Justice Ministry Director-General Dr. Guy Rotkoff, who heads an interministerial committee tasked with ensuring there are no nomination obstacles in the Civil Service, said the body he heads is working to increase the number of Arabs hired by the service.
Attorney Ron Gazit, deputy-chairman of the Israeli Bar Association added that if the government continues to fail meeting its goal, it should either change it, or prepare to defend its failure in court.
Gazit demanded each government office be made to meet its employment quotas, and ensure locator committees include Arab members, in order to redeem themselves in the eyes of Arab candidates.
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