JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin launched a project to help integrate Arab-Israelis into the workforce.
Rivlin announced the project Sunday during a meeting at the president’s residence in Jerusalem with CEOs and employers involved in the initiative.
Days earlier, Rivlin met with the mayors and local council heads of Arab-Israeli towns and municipalities.
During Sunday’s meeting, Rivlin was presented with a survey that showed Arabs were woefully underrepresented in executive positions in Israel’s 50 leading countries.
“Sadly, too few Israeli Jews are familiar with the Arab society beyond assumptions of stereotype,” he said. “Therefore, there exists a significant gap, created over the years, between the two societies which live side by side, together — yet blind to one another.
“Over this divide, this gap, we must build a bridge, step by step. The mission to build a bridge, and a basis for a sense of cooperation between the Jewish and Arab communities, is for me a humanitarian, Jewish, Zionist and national mission of the very highest priority.”