Knesset approves bill to 'keep Arab shepherds from squatting'

Arab MKs accuse legislation of being racist, say grazing land is unequally distributed between Jews, Arabs.

By
July 2, 2013 02:17
1 minute read.
Sheep in E1 outside of Jerusalem

Sheep in E1 outside of Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Knesset pushed forward a new bill preventing shepherds from illegally using public land for grazing Monday.

“[The purpose of the bill is to] regulate grazing on public land and protecting the ground of our homeland, open areas and forests, so they can be used for national reasons,” Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir explained.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Or, as a coalition source put it, “the bill is meant to prevent Arab shepherds from squatting on public land.”

The Knesset voted to apply continuity to a bill that passed in its first reading in the previous Knesset, allowing lawmakers to prepare it for its second and third votes rather than start the legislative process over.

The new bill will, for the first time, give law enforcement the tools to deal with shepherds illegally using public land. In addition, it will allow the Agriculture Ministry to allocate grazing lands more efficiently and transparently.

Arab MKs spoke out against the legislation, saying that grazing land is unequally distributed between Jewish and Arab shepherds.

“Israeli citizens are treated differently, depending on their background. Jews are treated like the masters of the land, and Arabs are treated like enemies,” MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said. “The purpose of this bill is to ‘protect the land.’ Protect from who? From those illegally using public land. As if we [Arabs] aren’t part of the public.”



The bill requires shepherds to apply for a permit. A committee will decide who gets permits, in proportion to the amount of land available for grazing and according to the shepherd’s experience, the type and size of his herd, the land’s grazing capacity and how close the shepherd lives to available land, among other conditions.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN