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Nurit Felter-Eitan, Director of the Communications, Public Affairs, and Community Relations Division at the Bank of Israel, participated in a conference entitled “Arab Society: Challenges and Opportunities – Academia, Employment, and Leadership”, which was held in Nazereth, under the sponsorhip of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation.  The conference included 250 participants from academia, the business sector, and nonprofit organizations working in Arab society.


Ms. Felter-Eitan delivered remarks on “Economic Development Opportunities and the Realization of the Potential in Arab Society”, and presented initial findings by the Bank of Israel Research Department, which show that those in Arab society with an academic education choose academic professions with low income levels, such as education, nursing, and pharmaceutical work.  Her presentation (in Hebrew) is attached.


Bank of Israel figures from 2018–2022 show that 56 percent of non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish males with academic degrees, and 28 percent of non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish females with academic degrees, choose academic professions with relatively high incomes (such as technology, scientific, management, and medical fields).  This is compared to just 33 percent among Arab males with academic education, and just 6 percent of Arab females with academic education.


Seventy-nine percent of Arab women with academic degrees choose professions with low incomes, such as education, social work, or para-medical professions.  This is in contrast with just 35 percent of non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish women with academic degrees, 38 percent of Arab men with academic degrees, and just 8 percent of non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish men with academic degrees.


In addition, Ms. Felter-Eitan for the first time presented data from a study recently conducted regarding the level of financial literacy in Israel compared with other OECD countries.  According to the findings, more than half of those surveyed from Arab society have difficulty understanding the significance of inflation (compared with 35 percent in non-Arab Israeli society and less than 20 percent across the OECD).


Almost 60 percent of those surveyed from Arab society do not know how to calculated annual interest (compared with 38 percent among non-Arab Israeli society and 43 percent across the OECD).


Ms. Felter-Eitan noted that in accordance with the recommendations of the interministerial team on financial inclusion, the Bank of Israel has taken on leadership of financial education in Arab society as a multiyear program, and has allocated the necessary resources for this.


On February 28, 2023, the Bank of Israel will hold a seminar on the topic of financial education, at which final findings of the survey will be presented.