The Israeli government has approved plans to spend billions of dollars to improve the conditions of its large Arab minority, which has long complained of being marginalized.
It will allocate funding to help sectors such as housing, education and employment over the next five years.
Ministers also approved a plan to spend nearly $ 1 billion (£ 730 million) to tackle high crime rates in Israeli Arab areas.
Arabs make up about a fifth of Israel’s 9.3 million population.
The leader of the Arab Islamist party Raam, which is part of the ruling coalition, welcomed the move.
Mansour Abbas said that although “it will not erase years of neglect, [it] it will do a lot to bridge the gap between the Jewish and Arab sectors. “
Arabs in Israel often claim that their communities receive less per capita government funding than Jewish communities.
Tensions between the two communities escalated in parts of Israel earlier this year during an 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Israeli Arabs are descended from Palestinians who became Israeli citizens following the creation of the state in 1948-49. Many still self-identify as Palestinians or express solidarity with those living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
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The largest of the government’s plans includes spending $ 9.4 billion (£ 6.8 billion) to improve job opportunities and health services for Israeli Arabs, and invest in hi-tech and housing, as well as renovate obsolete infrastructure in the Arab areas.
It focuses on the health of Israeli Arab women and making it easier for them to enter the labor market.
The government also supported a national plan to tackle the spiral of crime and violence in the Arab sector. This year alone, more than 100 Israeli Arabs were killed in attacks by other members of their community.
Grieving families and Arab officials say police inaction is a major reason, while police say investigations are often hampered by a lack of cooperation and trust.
“The state will play its part, but Arab roads must also be all-in,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. “It won’t be easy, but we have to do it.”
The plans will form part of the state budget, which will be voted on by parliament next month.
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