Rivlin met on Thursday at his residence with 50 Arab local council heads and mayors and discussed integration and development, according to his office. The president called for the creation of a new Arab city, and for schools to “continue to deepen the integration of the Arabic language in all our children’s educations.”
“Today the Arab minority is no longer such a minority, and there is a need to realign the system of local government to include balance between all sectors of Israeli society,” Rivlin said.
The President’s Residence would serve as an address for the Arab community to place problems on the national agenda, he promised. “At the President’s Residence, teams will be on hand to help you and take care of any problems that will arise,” Rivlin said during the meeting. “I cannot promise that I’ll be a successful contractor for this, but we all have children and we need to act for their future.”
The mayors agreed to set up a working group managed by the president’s Office to seek out solutions. Mazen Ghanaian, the mayor of Sakhnin and the head of the committee for Arab municipalities, called for Rivlin’s help in addressing unemployment. “We have come to ask for your intervention, mainly in the growing unemployment among Arab men, which is a phenomenon plaguing all parts of the country,” Ghanaian said. “We, as mayors, are facing claims made by citizens who demand education and employment.”