Beduin women in Rahat, Israel..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Ministerial Committee for the Arab sector, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, approved a NIS 900 million government plan on Tuesday to develop Beduin towns in the Galilee.
The budgeted funds are to be spent in the period beginning this year and until 2020.
“We are partners, there is no reason an entire community that contributes to the state will not accept partnership in education, infrastructure, law enforcement and personal security,” said Netanyahu.
“I want to see young men and women join society, the economy, education and in everything,” he said.
The decision is meant to empower Beduin communities in the North and raise the standard of living.
The prime minister added that he would like to boost Beduin recruitment in the IDF, as it would help their integration into Israeli society.
Netanyahu and Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, who has been involved in the project, met with the Beduin leadership, including mayors and municipality heads from the North in the Prime Minister’s Office to finalize the deal.
Zidan Kaabiya, head of the Forum of Northern Beduin Council, and who was at the meeting on Tuesday, told The Jerusalem Post, “We are very happy about the decision to close the gaps with the Beduin sector. This is a big success,” adding that the previous plan was worth NIS 350.
“We held negotiations and worked together with the government to make the plan,” said Kaabiya. The plan “touches on all areas and we will take advantage of it.”
Gamliel said, “The Beduin population in the north serve in the army, pay taxes and bear the burden. The proposal that I submitted to the ministerial committee today is designed to help close the gaps between the Beduin sector and Israeli society.”
The program, being supervised by Gamliel’s ministry, includes infrastructure development including sewage, water, transport, housing and areas for employment.
The plan calls for increasing the employment rate of the Beduin through career development centers and increasing their presence in academia. Tourism and business will also be promoted in the area.