Working to Reach Greater Social Equality in Israel
Ghaida Renawie-Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli social activist, was our guest at the Federation on July 10 and spoke to over 40 Bay Area community members about the dire need of finding opportunities to get Arab-Israeli citizens more involved in community life.
Ghaida is one of the founders of the eight year old INJAZ Center for Professional Arab Governance. Since many Israeli-Arabs are reluctant to collaborate with the central Israeli authorities – even as volunteers – INJAZ attempts to engage the large Arab population through municipalities and other local authorities, and in this way try to improve living conditions, and active involvement in public life.
One in five citizens living in Israel is Arab, living in a community where over 60 % children live under the poverty line. But with resources scarce and professional know-how lacking, local leaders can be left powerless even as citizens turn to leaders for help.
Ghaida Renawie-Zoabi firmly believes that Arab leaders hold the key to equality – on a local and national level and is working to provide professional assistance to the 72 Arab mayors and local authorities on a variety of issues — ranging from economic development, land and planning issues, education, security and public participation. By raising awareness of the key role local governance plays in the advancement of Arab society, INJAZ is working in support of a more equitable society at large.
Recently named “one of the top 100 most influential Israelis” by Israel’s economic magazine, The Marker, Ms. Renawie-Zoabi (the only Arab woman on the list) impressed the crowd with her unassuming manner.
INJAZ Center for Professional Arab Local Governance is a dynamic Arab-Israeli organization working to raise awareness and improve the capacity of Arab leadership within local authorities, towns and villages in Israel to advance social and economic development for Arab citizens, and to reach greater social equality in Israel. In its initial years of operations Injaz has already earned kudos for its approach and impact.