A ministerial committee tasked with overseeing government policy concerning the country’s Arab population approved on Tuesday a spending plan of 900 million shekels ($240 million) for the Bedouin population in northern Israel.
“There is no reason that an entire population which contributes to the state should not receive support in education, infrastructure, law enforcement and personal security,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who himself chaired the committee.
“I know that people are suffering, and it doesn’t have to be this way; in the 21st century people need to be able to live,” he said.
The funds, to be allocated for improvements in local infrastructure, schools, and increased welfare services, will be stretched over several years, from 2016 to 2020.
Netanyahu also called for an increase in the number of Bedouin inducted into the IDF.
“This will advance you and the north as a whole, and it will help in social integration,” the prime minister said. “I want to see young men and women integrate into society, into the economy, and in education, and in everything else.”