(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The Cabinet, today (Sunday, 27 January 2013), by a vote of 16-3-1, approved
Minister Benny Begin's recommendations (Hebrew text) on formalizing the status of Bedouin settlement
in the Negev.
Minister Begin's recommendations were formulated in the wake of unprecedented
consultations he held among Negev Bedouin, during which he and the Construction and Housing Ministry Authority on Formalizing the
Status of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev officials met with over 1,000
Negev Bedouin, as well as their relevant groups and organizations.
In its decision, the Cabinet adopted the recommendations of the commission,
chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Eliezer Goldberg (Hebrew text), in which it was proposed, "to recognize - as
much as possible - each of the unrecognized villages in which there is a minimal
mass of residents, such as will be determined, and which will be able to bear
municipal status, and on the condition that such recognition will not contravene
the district master plan." The assessment is that after the implementation of
the outline, most Bedouin living in communities the planning of which is not
formalized, will be able to continue living on site after the planning is
Regarding ownership claims, it was decided - inter alia - that compensation,
in land or money, will be given for all of the area in question (and not just
half, as determined by a decision of the previous government).
The Cabinet approved draft legislation that sets a binding framework, and
allocates time, according to which if one seeking ownership will not - within
five years - agree to the proffered compromise, his ownership claim will no
longer have any value and the land will be registered as state land.
The plan significantly strengthens enforcement authorities in the field.
The plan accepted by the Cabinet will be submitted to the 19th Knesset as
soon as a new government is established.
The Cabinet will also invest an unprecedented approximately NIS 1.2 billion
in a five-year plan to promote the economic development and growth among Negev
Bedouin, and will also invest hundreds of millions of shekels in developing
infrastructures in Bedouin communities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The goal of this historic decision
is to put an end to the spread of illegal building by Negev Bedouin and lead to
the better integration of the Bedouin into Israeli society. All governments
avoided dealing with this issue, but this brave decision will facilitate the
continued development and prosperity of the Negev, for the benefit of all its
Minister Begin said, "This is the most extensive arrangement that the state
can propose. The plan is an expression of the Government's goodwill and
readiness to reach a solution. From the Government's point-of-view, it is
important that the plan be set in legislation. The Bedouin are citizens with
equal rights and constitute an inseparable part of the Negev. There is the
responsibility to assist the Bedouin in alleviating their plight and ensuring a
more positive future for their children. Now, we expect the Bedouin to respond
to this proposal."
Minister Moshe Yaalon said, "This is a historic decision that all previous
governments avoided making. The current situation is good only for the Islamic
extremists and lawbreakers and for those who want to assail the State of Israel;
therefore, it must be fundamentally changed."
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said, "Every day that passes without a decision
- the situation approaches a point of no return. Approving the law is very
important also for its enforcement on the ground."
Minister Avi Dichter said, "This is the most correct, fair, generous and
strong proposal that can be made today. If we wait, the situation will intensify
and the price will be higher."