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WATCH – Netanyahu: Imagine if the Middle East Looked More Like Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV – In a new video posted to social media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the diversity of Israeli society and the Jewish state’s advancement of equal opportunities for the country’s Arab citizens.

“I hope more states in our troubled region begin to emulate Israel and treat minorities with dignity and respect, the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve,” Netanyahu stated. “Just imagine, imagine if the Middle East looked a bit more like Tel Aviv and a bit less like Aleppo.”

Watch the video below:

Here is the full text of Netanyahu’s video:

Here’s the bad news and the good news about minorities in the Middle East. First the bad news: The Middle East is torn apart by hatred of minorities—Yazidis, Christians, Bahais, Kurds and others. Now, the good news: In Israel, minorities thrive. Israel has over one million Arab citizens.

They enjoy equality under the law, and we’re working very hard to make sure that they enjoy equality of opportunity. Here’s what we’ve done: Over the past decade, the number of Arabs working in high-tech in Israel increased tenfold; Arab students studying at the Technion, Israel’s MIT, tripled; Arab judges nearly doubled; an Arab Supreme Court Justice served as chairman of the Central Election Committee overseeing our national elections; Arab participation in the workforce has grown significantly; Arab unemployment is down; for the first time ever, an Arab has been appointed a deputy commissioner of the police, the second highest rank attainable.

My friends, none of this is accidental. My government has worked tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all. We’re investing 14 billion shekels—more money than has ever been given to the Arab sector in order to decrease unemployment and improve health, education and safety.

I chose to open this school year at an Arab school in the Galilee. I encouraged these young vibrant Arab students to achieve all their dreams because, I told them, this is your country too.

Israel is launching a program to teach mandatory Arabic to young Jewish children, and of course, I encourage these young Arab students to learn Hebrew, so they can better integrate into the Israeli economy and Israeli society, take part in the Israeli miracle.

Now, this isn’t exactly the image you get of my government by reading some media outlets, but these are the facts. Israel isn’t only strong because of our army. Israel is strong because of our spirit, and that includes our tolerance, our diversity, our pluralism. I hope more states in our troubled region begin to emulate Israel and treat minorities with dignity and respect, the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve. Just imagine, imagine if the Middle East looked a bit more like Tel Aviv and a bit less like Aleppo.

About twenty-one percent of Israel’s more than eight million citizens are Arabs.

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