First swimming pool in Israeli Bedouin settlement opens its doors

The half-sized half indoor Olympic pool was built in the new country club complex, which will be inaugurated on Wednesday in Rahat.

By SARA RUBENSTEIN
August 28, 2018 13:10
1 minute read.
 The new country club complex on the Bedouin settlement of Rahat.

The new country club complex on the Bedouin settlement of Rahat.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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History will be made on Wednesday when the first swimming pool in a Bedouin settlement in Israel opens its doors.

The half-sized, half-indoor Olympic pool was built in the new country club complex, which will be inaugurated on Wednesday in Rahat. The inauguration will be attended by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud), Construction Minister Yoav Gallant (Kulanu), and Director-General of the Development and Settlement of the Bedouin Authority Yair Maayan.

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The country club, about 1.3 hectares in size, includes the new swimming pool, a huge fitness room, three studio rooms for group classes, a coffee shop, solarium, a basketball and soccer field, playground facilities, and a dry and wet sauna. The pool will provide separate hours for men and women.

The establishment of the country club was a joint project of the Ministries of Agriculture, Construction and Housing, Interior, Culture and Sport, as well as the Development and Settlement of the Bedouin Authority. The club will serve thousands of residents scattered throughout the Negev, who until now had no access to sports and recreational activities close to their homes.

“The inauguration of the pool in Rahat this week eliminates a blemish from Israeli society,” Maayan said.

“Almost every Jewish child in the Negev can jump out of bed directly into the nearby pool, Bedouin children from Rahat or Lakiya who are Israeli citizens, have to travel for hours to the pool in Umm al-Fahm.

The long commute ruins the experience.

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This is a serious failure that the State of Israel has been neglecting for too many years. Unfortunately, the Jewish settlements in the Negev also were not open to allowing Bedouin children as welcome guests in their pools.”

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