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June 7, 2021 11:23 am

Israel’s Bedouin to Receive Government Community Investment Grant

avatar by i24 News

View of the Bedouin city of Rahat in southern Israel on Feb. 13, 2016. Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90.

i24 News – The Israeli Ministry of Economy is finalizing plans for a five-year investment fund directed to the country’s minority Bedouin community.

It is intended to boost economic advancement, employment, lower and higher education, and to develop improved infrastructure.

While no specific figure has been announced for the grant, the last program — which lasted from 2017 to 2021 — deployed almost $1 billion.

However, few people in the community are aware of the last round of investment, let alone benefiting from it, Khalil Al Amour, from the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality, told i24 News.

“It’s funny, if you ask the average Bedouin, even in the recognized villages, they will not know anything about that,” Amour said, in reference to the investment fund.

While funds are earmarked for the benefit of Bedouin people, nobody from the community is invited to take part in planning and decision-making, Amour said. This hamstrings the effectiveness of the funds, he suggested.

“Possibly most of the money goes to enforcement, the police and inspectors. But not for the benefit of Bedouin society,” he said.

If trust is to be built up between representatives of the state and local communities, possibly through working with Bedouin societal leaders, the next set of funds being diverted to the community could have a greater impact, Amour said.

A representative from the Ministry of Economy was scheduled to take part in an i24 News report but did not attend.

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