SDG 10 – Social Equality Continuity
We take pride in offering perspective on challenging issues re social impact in Israel. So dealing with headlines that recent election results will lead to a 180 degree change in the country – some will like it and others won’t, that’s democracy (especially when 71% of eligible voters cast their ballot) – is right up our alley.
Even before election day, “Haaretz” was already warning: “Arabs Finally Believe in a Plan to Tackle Inequality. Could the Israeli Election Torpedo It?” This piece deserves some attention. Let’s begin with the subheading, which refers to Israel’s second significant five-year plan to empower its Arab community: “Fifteen plans and several decades later, the Arab community in Israel took an active role in formulating the plan under the Bennett-Lapid government to tackle inequality with the Jewish population. If [Benjamin] Netanyahu returns to power, however, it could all go awry.”
It is indeed common wisdom that the first five-year plan, launched in 2015 (with a 15 billion-shekel budget), could have done more to involve the Arab community in its formulation. It is also true, however, that the program adopted by a Netanyahu Government served as a vital foundation for the subsequent Bennet-Lapid Government to consolidate its 30 billion-shekel plan. This was heralded in 2019 by “Haaretz” itself in a profile of the director of an Israeli coexistence NGO; the article was headed by a rhetorical question answered in the affirmative: “Could Netanyahu Actually be Good for Israel’s Arabs?”
Back to the present: social equality was an integral part of campaign messaging, not only by the outgoing coalition. Indeed, one of the new government’s projected senior partners ran an aggressive campaign under the banner “Hungry for Change: the Only Social Equality Party in Israel” focusing on the needs of the country’s under-served populations. In a video (Hebrew), the party’s head emphasizes the importance of promoting social equality – particularly food security – “for all communities.”
It’s still early to predict how the incoming government will handle implementation of SDG10; that will have to wait for consolidation of its Basic Guidelines and ministerial appointments. But one thing we are certain about: no matter what government is in power in Israel, efforts to reduce inequality will always be the common denominator.
Reduced Inequalities There are about 830,000 Ultra-Orthodox Jews living in Israel, which comprises about 11% of the total population, and nearly 59% of Ultra-Orthodox families