Arab, Druze Minorities Enjoy Steadily Rising Living Standards

Israel’s Arab and Druze minorities enjoy steadily rising living standards, improved housing, better employment opportunities, higher income and a wide range of services provided by the government, according to facts and figures in the new Government Year Book to be published here shortly. The minorities population, including residents of East Jerusalem but not of the other occupied territories, was 440,000 at the end of 1970. The figure included 330,000 Moslems, 75,000 Christians and 35,000 Druze.

Statistics indicated that the average income level among all strata of the Arab population was continually rising and that their “food basket” is increasingly varied. The appearance of Arab villages is being changed by vigorous building activity. There has been a considerable increase in the purchase of durable goods by Arab householders including private cars, which is taken as an indication of rising incomes and full employment, the Year Book notes.

Full employment has prevailed for the last five years and increasing numbers of Arabs hold positions of foremen and entrepreneurs. More than 105 industrial enterprise have been set up in Arab villages or are in the process of construction, the Year Book said. Most of them are textile plants. Investors, some of them Jewish and Arab partnerships, are displaying growing interest in the possibility of investing in enterprises in agriculture in Arab villages where there is a growing trend toward mechanization and production for export among Arab farmers.

Government policy is to provide permanent settlement for the Bedouin population which has been primarily nomadic. Bedouins are being located in planned settlements with the complete infrastructures and services of a modern town. So far, three such settlements have been planned and the first, Tel Sheva, was completed in 1967. Families there now enjoy modern housing, health and education and sports facilities, according to the Year Book.

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