On January 11, 2022, the Minister of Housing put together a public committee led by Professor and attorney Aviad Hacohen to look into the qualifications for public housing. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel examined the names of the committee members and found that four women and six men were appointed, but none of them were Arab.
Following the dismissal of ACRI's appeal to the Minister of Construction and Housing to add Arab representatives and diversify the committee, we petitioned the High Court of Justice on January 24, 2022, along with the Arab Center for Alternative Planning.
In the petition, we demanded the appointment of Arab members to the committee, such that Arab representation would constitute at least 20% of the committee. Not to mention, the share of women in the committee should be no less than 50%. Furthermore, the organizations requested an interim order to prevent the public committee from meeting, suspending its work until a decision is made regarding our petition.
The petition details the acute poverty and housing crisis in Arab society and the historic discrimination in the realm of public housing. For example, only four out of 120 Arab communities have public housing apartments, and these four make up only about 0.3% of all public housing apartments in the country. Discrimination against the Arab community in Israel is also evident in regulations for public housing and housing assistance eligibility. The petition further details the development of the necessity for adequate legislative representation, both regarding case law and the Attorney General’s guidelines. In this situation, the fact that there were no Arabs on the committee was seen as illegal and unacceptable.
About three weeks after the petition was filed, the Minister of Construction and Housing informed the High Court that he had added a representative from Arab society and a representative from the Ethiopian community to the committee. Therefore, the petition was deleted.