Knesset Holds Day of the Negev Dedicated to Issues in Bedoui...

Knesset Holds Day of the Negev Dedicated to Issues in Bedouin Society

November 2, 2017

On October 31st the Knesset dedicated a day for discussions of Negev Bedouin society, the importance of its economic development for advancing the region as a whole, and the various barriers and gaps the need to be addressed. Special attention was given to women and children’s issues, welfare policies, transportation infrastructure, and the government’s 5-year socio-economic development plan for Negev Bedouin. 

The Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality discussed a special report submitted by the Negev Coexistence Forum outlining barriers to the integration of Bedouin women in the labor market, noting that their employment rate of 24% today has only gone up 1% since 2012, yet remain key to lifiting families out of poverty.

The Special Committee for the Rights of the Child held a discussion on "Morbidity and Mortality of Children in the Arab Society in the Negev" as these rates are significantly higher than in other Arab communities and in Israel at large:

  • According to data from BETREM-Safe Kids Israel, Bedouin kids constitute only 1% of Israeli society but they represent 23% of all children who died from accidents over the past year (28 out of 120). 
  • Manuel Katz from the Ministry of Health spoke about infant mortality rates in Bedouin society, which at 12 per 1000 instances are more than three times higher than in Jewish society, and are in part attributed to congentical malformations related to high rates of marriage within family groups.

Additional committees spoke about the extent of welfare recipients in the Bedouin community, the difficulty in accessing welfare services, and the need to ensure conditions in Bedouin cities and unrecognized villages are addressed so that the option of joining the labor force is a viable one for Bedouin women.

Further reading:

Negev Day: An ongoing state of discrimination - Tal Carmon - Davar  - 11.01.2017. (Hebrew)

Briefing: Day of the Negev in the Knesset - Erez Tripon Reshef - Social TV - 10.29.17 (Hebrew)

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