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President Rivlin meets Arab mayors and regional authority heads Photo by Mark Neiman (GPO)
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President Rivlin meets Arab mayors and regional authority heads

30 January 2017

President Rivlin meets Arab mayors and regional authority heads

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson) 

 

President Reuven Rivlin, this morning (Monday) hosted the forum of heads of the Arab regional and local authorities in Israel, who requested to convene to represent to the President the current issues they were facing. The participants reviewed with the President challenges relating to planning, proposed solutions, and courses of action.

 

Participating in the meeting were: Chairman of the Arab Regional Council Heads, and Mayor of Sakhnin Mazen Ganim; Mayor of Qalansawe, Abed Salameh; Daliyat al-Karmel Council Head, Rafik Halabi; Yarka Council Head, Wahib Habish; Mayor of Tamra, Dr. Diab Suhel; Mayor of Kafr Qassem, Adel Badir; Mayor of Tayibe, Shuaa Masarwa; Majd al-Krum Council Head, Salim Salibi; Ar'ara Council Head, Mudar Younis; Jatt Council Head, Muhammed Wattad; Mayor of Rahat, Talal Alkernawi; and former MK Hana Sweid.

 

President Rivlin opened his remarks by welcoming all the participants and saying, “I want to thank you all for coming to me, and for seeing this house as an address (to express your concerns), and for your faith in this office. We have all experienced difficult days, and I am aware of the great responsibility upon your shoulders, and on all our shoulders. At this time, we must all come together in our efforts to lower the flames, and to move forward with finding solutions.”

 

The council heads stressed the urgency of the need to reach an arrangement for the building procedures in the Arab sector. They stated their readiness to take upon themselves full responsibility to enforce an agreed building arrangement, and as such requested to be partners to its formulation. A program which would accordingly ensure a complete halt to illegal constructions, alongside legislation relating to existing buildings, and the removal of illegal buildings which cannot be legalized.

 

Chairman of the Arab Regional Council Heads and Mayor of Sakhnin, Mazen Ganim, stressed that the forum of Arab Regional Council Heads was right to act uncompromisingly to enforce the law, and that the requirement to reach an arrangement on the issue of housing was a national need: of importance to issues of employment, and the daily lives of the members of the Arab community.

 

The President concluded by saying, “The State must act to ensure the rights of every citizen to build their home according to the law, and the citizens must respect the law, and build only and solely within the law. This is true regarding the Bedouin communities in the Negev, and everywhere else.”

 

The President clarified that the President’s Office would continue to promote the need to find a solution in cooperation with Government ministries including the ministries of finance, infrastructure, housing, and others.