In this report, we will focus exclusively on Arab workers who are citizens of Israel. Kav LaOved works in Israel to directly support this target group in tackling legal and other obstacles that undermine the effective implementation and application of labour standards for all workers in Israel. This report is part of the project “Upholding Labour Rights in the Middle East,” funded by the European Union, which supports our organization together with Christian Aid to develop this work, and summarizes and analyzes much of the evidence we have collected from primary and secondary research.
Arab citizens of Israel face multiple forms of discrimination on the basis of their national, ethnic and religious identifications (i.e. Arab, Palestinian, Bedouin, Druze, Muslim, Christian) and at times their membership in one or more distinct subgroups, such as women, the disabled and the elderly. This publication exposes that Arab citizens of Israel often face discrimination in work opportunities, pay and conditions, both because of the lack of enforcement of labour legislation and inadequate implementation of equal opportunity legislation. Additionally, entrenched structural barriers and employment practices particularly affect Arab women workers.
The wider purpose of this report is to demonstrate that there are significant gaps in the application of labour standards for Arab citizens of Israel, as compared to Jewish Israelis. These gaps need to be closed through the implementation and amendment of existing legislation. We identify these gaps by analysing international labour standards and national labour laws, which allows us to then identify priority areas that need to be addressed in order to close these gaps which harm marginalised workers in Israel. This process reveals that lower labour standards and practice are correlated with lower living standards among our target group. Therefore, by improving labour standards and practice, we expect not only better protection of rights at work but also a lower incidence of vulnerability to poverty among the Arab community of Israel.