(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Jewish billionaire businessman Harry Oscar Triguboff, the richest person in Australia, established an institute in Israel in 2011. It is now investing in projects to improve the quality of life of the Negev’s Beduin.
The Jerusalem-based Triguboff Institute is partnering in various projects, including the establishment of an elite Negev Beduin co-ed high school that is set to open in September.
“The aim is to help integrate the Beduin into mainstream Israeli society,” Shalom Norman, CEO of the Triguboff Institute, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
The organization is also looking into other initiatives to raise the living standards of Beduin in the South.
He said that the fact that the school principal is a woman means that parents of girls may be more comfortable sending their daughters. Also, it will include youth from different tribes and families, a new concept in the Arab sector.
In Beduin society the traditional family and tribal structure are extremely important, as conflicts often arise between families.
The school was initiated by the NGO Desert Stars and is supported by the regional council as well as by the state, Norman said.
It will open with 120 students and will expand to accept more than 400 with a boarding school annex.
The school is selective, aiming for excellence and leadership, said Norman, adding that in two years it will move to a permanent location.
Asked about the risk of accommodating students from different tribes, he responded: “If you don’t take a risk, you don’t move things forward.
“Everyone talks about the need to do something, but not much progress has been made,” he continued, mentioning the main obstacle being the ongoing land dispute issues with the government.
The Beduin are motivated to progress and move into the 21st century and out of poverty, he explained.
“More than 2,000 students from the Beduin community in the Negev are going to study in Hebron and Jenin using the syllabus of Hamas,” Norman said. This provides another reason to improve Beduin education in Israel, he said “The majority of Beduin want to integrate,” he asserted.
Another project is a vocational training center in the Beduin village of Segev Shalom and the Neot Hovav industrial zone. In addition, a central state of the art vocational training and placement center is planned to be established by 2017 as a joint venture of the Idan Hanegev Industrial Park, the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation, the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, and the Triguboff Institute. It aims to bring new opportunities and hope to the young generation of the Beduin community of the Negev.