Bedouin Funding Set to Triple

The Israeli Finance Ministry will triple funding of the Bedouin sector, from 1 billion to 3 billion shekels ($260-$780 million), Arutz Sheva reported on Thursday.

The decision was announced at a conference to mark the opening of a joint Jewish-Bedouin industrial zone between the Rahat municipality and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council. It was organized by the Arab Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC-NISPED) at the new Idan Hanegev industrial park

Shira Bergman, from the Finance Ministry’s budget division, told the conference: “The scope of the budget for investment in the Bedouin sector is going to grow significantly, from one billion [shekels] to three billion [shekels]. This budget for the Bedouin sector is in addition to what was decided in Government Resolution 922-in addition to the budget which was allocated to the Arab sector in Government Resolution 922.”

Bergman also said that they were looking at the possibility of providing money to illegal Bedouin settlements.

“We intend to examine [possible] changes to the distribution of grants which the Bedouin authorities provide to residents who are not registered in the register of residents.” she added. “Another thing which we will examine is the “absorption basket” which is granted to the local Bedouin authorities to assist with the absorption of the residents of unrecognized communities.”

MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, approved the idea: “Recognizing the unrecognized communities is the best solution not only for the Arabs, but for the Jews. It’s good for the economy, good for [public] health, good for public transportation. It’s good for both sides.”