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Published on Jul 25, 2016
Dear Arab citizens of Israel, Muwatinuna al arab al aezaa,
Before my election, I said Arabs voters were going to the polls in droves. I was referring to a specific political party but many people were understandably offended. I apologized for how my comment was misunderstood.
But today I want to go further. Today I am asking Arab citizens in Israel to take part in our society—in droves. Work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves.
Israel is strong because of our diversity and pluralism—not in spite of it.
Over 20% of Israel's citizens are Arabs. And you have achieved incredible heights: Supreme Court justices, members of parliament, renowned authors, entrepreneurs, high tech business-owners, doctors, pharmacists.
I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel's success. I want you to play an even greater role in it.
Now, respecting minorities isn't just the right thing to do—it's critical to our progress.
But talking about equality of opportunity – that's not enough. Action is what matters.
My government recently passed a resolution to invest massive resources in Arab communities.
Arab communities are receiving unprecedented support for public infrastructure, for transportation, for employment, for welfare, for so many other things.
And the reason for this is simple. Because your future is our future.
Yet significant gaps remain.
I will never forget the conversation I had in a Knesset committee with a young Muslim woman. Her husband and sons were gunned down in an Arab town. She was shaking. She begged me, she said, "Prime Minister, please increase law and order in the community where I live."
And this is exactly what we're doing.
Yesterday, the government approved legislation that would significantly strengthen public safety for Arab towns and villages. They're yearning to be free from a life of crime and violence.
My vision is that young Arab boys and girls grow up knowing they can achieve anything in Israel as valued and equal citizens in our democracy.
Today I ask you all to join me in this effort.
Now, each of us has a role to play.
Jews and Arabs should reach out to each other, get to know each other's families.
Listen to each other.
Jews and Arabs should treat one another with the same dignity and respect you'd want for your own family.
Our land is too small, it's too precious to fill it with discord and hate.
Let us work together, Arabs and Jews alike, to reach ever higher in the noble pursuit of equality and dignity for all.