Activists from Tel-Aviv Visit Arab Women in Baqa al-Gharbiya

<p>A delegation of activists for social protest from Beit Haam, Tel Aviv, visited the WAC-MAAN headquarters in Baqa al-Gharbiya on January 14, 2012, where they met with Arab women and agricultural workers in order to examine the harsh reality affecting the Arab population under the racist economic policy that drives women out of the labor market.</p>

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The meeting was facilitated by WAC-MAAN’s coordinator in Baqa al-Gharbiya, Wafa Tiara, who presented the branch’s work and discussed the major obstacles keeping women from joining the workforce. Some of the workers spoke of their great difficulty finding steady work, as well as the exploitative conditions when working for contractors who pay ten shekels per hour and do not provide pay slips or minimal respect.

In a following panel that took place in Al-Qasemi College, the speakers were Einat Hatzimeri Shavit, Tami Zandberg, and Asma Agbarieh-Zahalka. Einat, a communal social worker, declared that the social workers’ strike was one of the first signs of the social protest. Tami Zandberg, a member of Tel Aviv’s city council representing the Meretz party, stated that the demonstrations failed to cope with a series of proposed anti-democratic laws, and that the attack on democracy has returned. Agbarieh said that protest leaders erred by blurring the line between leftwing and rightwing, but nevertheless, the fact of the visit sends a message that there are indeed groups of Jews and Arabs fighting together for cooperation and for improvements in the standard of living.

Lital Levin, one of the event’s initiators, said: “this wondrous meeting in Baqa, which perhaps wouldn’t have been possible without the summer’s demonstrations, and which in itself may expand our shared possibilities, is exciting and thrilling.” Eran Bril, one of Beit Haam’s founders, stated that the creation of cracks in the wall of division between Arabs and Jews must be continued.

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