Arab-Israelis rally in Tel Aviv for more equitable housing policies


(JTA) — Approximately 2,000 Arab-Israelis participated in a Tel Aviv demonstration to protest Arab housing shortages and home demolitions.

The protest Tuesday in Rabin Square was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and followed a daylong general strike in the Arab sector.

“This is one of the most painful issues for the Arab public,” said Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint Arab List party in a statement released shortly before the rally, the French news agency AFP reported. “For a family that loses its home that was built on private land, its whole world is destroyed.”

The Joint Arab List received the third most votes of any party in Israel’s March 17 elections.

“Holding a protest in Tel Aviv is a call to the Jewish public to stand together with the Arab one against the destructive and inciting policies of the Netanyahu government, which is trying to foment a confrontation,” the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee said in a statement, according to Haaretz.

The committee said the Arab sector faces a housing shortage because of land confiscation and the government’s failure to approve building and expansion plans.

Although Arab-Israelis make up approximately 17 percent of the population, only 4.6 percent of new homes are built in Arab areas, the Arab-Israeli rights group Adalah told AFP.

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