Arab Israeli Women Entrepreneurs Struggle to Survive Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict

Arab Israeli Women Entrepreneurs Struggle to Survive Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict

Yozmot Atid NGO provides emergency support to female business owners affected by war and pandemic

The Israel-Hamas conflict that began on October 7 has had far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate physical and political impact. Among those affected are Arab Israeli women entrepreneurs, who have seen their businesses suffer due to a decline in tourism and rising anti-Arab prejudice. Yozmot Atid, a non-governmental organization dedicated to assisting women from minority or underprivileged communities in starting and advancing their small businesses, has stepped in to provide emergency support to these women during this challenging time.

A Helping Hand for Female Entrepreneurs:

Yozmot Atid has been helping thousands of small business owners, particularly women from diverse backgrounds, through its programs aimed at providing training, mentorship, and support. The organization works closely with Arab Israeli women, Bedouin, and Druze populations, promoting a shared society by encouraging partnerships between Jewish and Arab communities. The program has a remarkable success rate, with 70% of participants opening or successfully running their businesses three years after completing the program.

Challenges Faced by Arab Israeli Women Entrepreneurs:

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Arab Israeli women entrepreneurs have faced significant challenges. Many have seen a decline in Jewish customers due to anti-Arab prejudice, while others have become hesitant to engage with Jewish clients for fear of political discussions related to the war. Additionally, the absence of tourism has further impacted their businesses, forcing some to close their doors temporarily or permanently.

Emergency Response Program by Yozmot Atid:

In response to the crisis faced by Arab Israeli women entrepreneurs, Yozmot Atid has launched an emergency response program. The program offers a dedicated call center where female business owners can consult with business consultants for guidance and support. It also assists in navigating the Israeli bureaucracy to help these women access business grants and other forms of support. Furthermore, the program provides webinars, workshops, and lectures to empower women to adapt their businesses during this challenging period, such as transitioning to online platforms.

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Adapting to Overcome Challenges:

Despite the difficulties they face, many Arab Israeli women entrepreneurs are determined to overcome the current crisis. Salam Diabat, a business owner from Zarzir, used the time during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve her business skills and is now doing the same during the Israel-Hamas conflict. Diabat emphasizes the need for faster and more substantial support from the government, as loans are not a viable solution when there is no income to repay them. However, she remains hopeful that this phase will pass and that her business will recover.

Conclusion:

The Israel-Hamas conflict has had a severe impact on Arab Israeli women entrepreneurs, who have seen their businesses suffer due to a decline in tourism and rising anti-Arab prejudice. Yozmot Atid’s emergency response program provides essential support to these women, offering guidance, assistance with bureaucracy, and opportunities for self-development. Despite the challenges they face, these resilient entrepreneurs are determined to adapt and overcome, believing that this difficult phase will eventually pass. As the conflict continues, it is crucial for the government and society to provide continued support and opportunities for these women to rebuild and thrive once again.