Discussion in Knesset: Barriers in the employment of Arab Women

On 30 May 2023, The Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality chaired by MK Pnina Tamano-Shata,  held a discussion promoted by Zulat about the employment among Arab women.

Adv.Shirin Batshon presented a policy paper to committee members written with the Zulat Steering committee including Prof. Nihaya Daoud and Dr. Raghda Alnabilsy. The topic: “Main Barriers of employment of Arab women in Israel: Public Transportaion and Day Care Centers”.

Adv. Batshon said:

“Today 40% of the Arab Women population are part of the employment work force in Israel.

The Five year plan for the Arab population set its aim at 46.3% and even if this goal is reached Arab working women would be at the bottom of the employment scale with the  gaps between Jewish working women widening.

We see a problem in regulation of the issues defined in the plan. These are accepted and fiinance resources are defined, but depend on the goodwill of governments which can cancel these rights. Many aspects of the plan are not implemented.

The root of the problem is inherint in structural and political barriers, shown mainly in public transportation and lack of day care centers  for children. A good proportion of the ideas of the plan place Arab women in  professions on the lower scale without any opportunity of breaking the the glass ceiling .

Zulat recommends working towards rulings ensuring equal opportunities for Arab women, with organized supervision instigating a committee to promote equality in public transport”.

Watch (Hebrew, no subtitles):




Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.