Affirmative Action for Arab Citizens on Governmental Corporate Boards.

HCJ 10026/01, Adalah v. Prime Minister, et. al.

A petition was filed in 12/01 in Adalah's name against the Prime Minister and several other ministers. The petition asked the Court to order the respondents to fully implement affirmative action policies as required by law. Amendment 6 to the Governmental Companies Law (1975), passed in 1993, requires equal representation for all women in Israel on the boards of directors of government-owned companies. Amendment 11 to this same law, passed in June 2000, states that: “In the board of directors of governmental companies, adequate representation will be given to the Arab population.” Despite these laws and Supreme Court litigation by the Israel Women's Network in 1994, as of 12/02, less than 1% of sitting board members were Arab women citizens of Israel. Arab citizens, men and women, held only about 5.5% of board positions as of 12/02. While Israeli Jewish women's representation increased from 7% to 37% between 1994-2002, there was no increase in the representation of Arab women.

Result: In 4/03, the Court dismissed the petition. Despite the fact that Adalah included a list of over 70 qualified professionals in the petition, the Court agreed with the state's contention that it is difficult to find suitable Arab candidates for board positions. The Court ruled, however, that it is the responsibility of the government to seek out qualified Arab candidates for appointment to the boards of directors of governmental companies, and stated that it would consider further petitions on the matter if the state does not fulfill its promises. Following the Court's decision, a coalition to increase the representation of Arab citizens of Israel, especially women, on the boards of directors of governmental companies was established. Coalition members include Adalah, ACRI, Sikkuy, Kian, and the Working Group for Equality and Personal Status Issues.

(H.C. 10026/01, Adalah v. Prime Minister, et. al., decision delivered 2 April 2003).

 Decision (Hebrew); PDF (delivered 2 April 2003)