Negev Bedouins protest delay to start of school year

"The council has made all the necessary moves regarding the Education Ministry which continues to disregard the rights of the children living in the Bedouin villages."

By LEON SVERDLOV
September 5, 2019 22:14
1 minute read.
Al-Qasum residents protesting in front of the Beersheva Government Complex

Al-Qasum residents protesting in front of the Beersheva Government Complex. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Over a thousand people arrived at the Beersheva Government Complex on Thursday to protest the Education Ministry's failure to open the school year in the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev.

According to Tzvi Communications, over a thousand children, parents and teachers from the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev rallied in front of the local Education Ministry offices in the South District Government complex in Beersheva to protest what they call the government's disregard for their appeals to regulate the local education.
According to the report, for the last five months, the al-Qasum Regional Council's calls for the Israeli government to regulate the education services provided to its residents living in unrecognized villages have been met with silence.

 "I'm equal too" - Al-Qasum residents protesting in front of the local Education Ministry offices at the South District Government Complex  (Photo Credit: Courtesy)


As of September 5, 2019, the school year, that officially started on September 1, has not begun in the unrecognized villages. In previous years, the education services were provided by the al-Qasum Regional Council, that acted as a sub-contractor to the Education Ministry.


In the absence of proper budgets and proper conditions for learning, the regional council warned several months ago that it would not be able to start the school year on September 1 along with the rest of the country. The head of the al-Qasum Regional Council, Salameh al-Atrash arrived at the scene to sympathize with the protesters, saying that the regional council "will not give up what our children deserve."


"We are with you," he said. "The council has made all the necessary moves regarding the Education Ministry which continues to disregard the rights of the children living in the Bedouin villages. We will not remain silent anymore."


The unrecognized villages in the Negev are rural Bedouin communities that the Israeli government does not recognize as legal, based on the Ottoman Land Code of 1858 and the absence of proper documentation of land ownership by the nomadic tribes.



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