The Arab Employment Initiative (AEI), a partnership between the government of Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee and Yad Hanadiv, was inaugurated in July 2011 to increase Arab employment in Israel. The AEI has made a tangible contribution to raising employment rates and has served as a bridge to the wider Israeli society for many Arab citizens. The government provides them with a comprehensive and accessible package of employment services through a network of Employment Centres established in Arab towns. To ensure Arab leadership and participation at all stages, Yad Hanadiv and the JDC established a new non-profit entity, Alfanar, to run these government-funded Centres.
Currently, 24 Employment Centres are operating in Arab localities across the country. They provide a range of outreach activities and training programmes; develop relations with local and regional employers; and work individually with participants to place them in jobs with ongoing support to increase the likelihood of their retention and promotion. Between 2011 and 2018 Alfanar served 65,000 visitors to the Employment Centres and placed 33,000 of them in job, of which 66% were women.
As part of its comprehensive approach, the AEI seeks to remove obstacles to hiring among major employers in Israel. To assist in this, Yad Hanadiv has invested in the work of Collective Impact with large firms to demonstrate the economic benefits of hiring Arab employees, as well as in the practical efforts by Professor Eran Halperin of IDC based on his research in social psychology.