We are constantly working to inform the public in Israel and abroad about the injustices committed towards the Bedouin society in the Negev/Naqab, as we believe that the long-term violations of social and human rights are also made possible due to the lack of public interest in the community, and the lack of accurate public information. The Israeli public is being fed false information.
Join us to learn about the Bedouin society and to meet the leaders of the unrecognized villages. Come and visit the Negev/Naqab from their point of view, get to know the roots of the southern struggle for civil equality, and see the injustice and human rights violations in your own eyes.
NCF’s activists speak every year to dozens of diverse groups in various frameworks. We will also be happy to talk to you about the situation in the Negev/Naqab, the human rights violations of the Bedouin community and the history of the struggle in the country’s southern region. To coordinate a lecture, workshop or home class, please contact us at: [email protected]
The products of our documentation projects are presented in a variety of spaces in Israel and abroad.
Yuṣawiruna – Photographing for Human Rights Project, are an original and exceptional testimonies from the Negev/Naqab. Our team work alongside an amazing group of women from the unrecognized villages in various photography classes and training. Together, the women form a wide network of human rights defenders. They share their everyday lives , both the good and the bad, and the project enables them to take a larger part in their communities’ struggles for recognition.
The children in our documentation project Through a Child’s Lens, are witnesses of the harsh reality, and cameras are a source of strength for them.
Recognized- Documenting Life in the Negev, is NCF’s video documentation project. In 2015, NCF started to distribute video cameras and train volunteer photographers in the unrecognized villages to document, from their perspective, the human rights violations that occur in their villages.
NCF works to promote civic equality in the Negev/Naqab – to eradicate racist policies and to end discrimination against Bedouin citizens in all spheres of life. For this purpose, constant work is done with policymakers in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), government ministries, local authorities, and among various level of decision-makeing. We hold meetings and lectures, invite them out for tours and meetings with Bedouin residents from the region, distribute position papers, speak in various Knesset committees and more.
In the past, publications and reports that we wrote led to discussions in various committees in the Knesset and important visits to the Negev/Naqab of these committees. For example, during 2016, members of the State Audit Committee participated in a tour with NCF and held discussions following the report Community under Attack: The Human Rights Situation of the Bedouin Community in the Negev .
In previous years, the organization took part in extensive actions against the Prawer-Begin plan, opposition to the plan in the public sphere and in the Parliament, which eventually led to the cancellation of the plan.
On Monday, August 5 from 9:30 to 12:00, a public conference was held at the Rahat Community Center,
as part of the campaign to prevent the program from being closed by the Ministry of Education at the beginning of the school year. In previous years, the program encompassed 25 classrooms a year and accommodated 450 students, 90% of whom were women in need of basic education and a matriculation certificate. This year, only nine classes operated, and this was only due to public pressure exerted on the Ministry of Education. NCF and Sidreh, a Bedouin women organization, stated: “It is impossible that a ministry that has a budget of NIS 60 billion cannot find 2.5 million for Bedouin women that have been subject of neglect and discrimination for decades.”
Among the participants were Members of Knesset; program coordinators and staff; academics and researchers from the community; local leaders; women’s organizations and activists; and of course, the participants of the program themselves.
MK Aida Touma-Suleiman from the Joint Arab List: The State must take responsibility and increase its allocation of budgets for education and employment services for Arab Bedouin women.
MK Gadeer Kamal Mreeh, Blue and White Political Alliance: “The Ministry of Education did not raise a demand, the Ministry of Finance did not know, and a Government Resolution was passed without this important program! As part of the fight against the cancellation of the program, I contacted the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance in an official letter, demanding that the issue be jointly and seriously re-examined, in order to find a solution, and to reactivate the program as soon as possible. “
Professor Yifat Bitton, the Democratic Camp: It’s outrageous that the Israeli Government gives money to programs and then slowly dries them out. It is embarrassing that we need to gather here for a budget of only NIS 2.5 million when the damages caused by discrimination against a Bedouin woman reaches NIS 2 million. It is important to speak about both distributive justice and economic logic. These two require not only that the plan continue but that it is also be expanded.
The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (NCF) and the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev (RCUV) released an urgent letter today (Wednesday) to officials from the Government and the IDF, demanding an immediate and adequate response to the absence of bomb shelters in the Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab, both recognized and unrecognized by the State of Israel. This was as a result of the recent escalation this week between Israel and Gaza, during which it became clear once more that hundreds of thousands of Arab-Bedouin citizens of the state are left without any shelter during emergencies and are completely exposed to the missile threat. “This is negligence in the highest degree. The state has known for years and years that this is the case and does nothing to change it”.
The letter was sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu; Minister of Public Security Mr. Gilad Erdan; Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi; and the Home Front Commander, Major Tamir Yadai. The letter is backed by data collected as part of the submission of a petition on the subject by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in 2014, as well as the State Comptroller’s report from 2018, which pointed-out to extreme gaps in protecting the Arab communities and the Arab-Bedouin community in the Negev/Naqab in particular, during emergencies. The letter presents the accusation that although the state is aware of the serious problem, nothing has been done except the promotion of shelters in public schools and clinics, and that 80,000 residents of the unrecognized villages in the Negev/Naqab, who have no access to a bomb shelters at all, remain completely transparent to the government.
During Operation Protective Edge, a rocket hit the entrance to a family home in the unrecognized village of Al Wadij near Dimona, killing four people and injuring four members of the family. Another rocket hit a house in the unrecognized village of ʿAwajān near Lagiyyih, injuring two young girls. In the current round of violence, a rocket hit a house in the town of Lagiyyih and wounded two people. Ziyad al-Hamamdeh, a resident of the unrecognized village of Ṣwāwīn, who was killed by a rocket in Ashkelon, also came from a village without any means of protection. One of his relatives told YNET that the late Hamamdeh told him on the morning of the day he was killed before leaving for work in Ashkelon that “our whole area is in danger and we have no shelters to run to if anything should happen. So, I’ll go to my workplace and continue the day as usual”. In all the cases mentioned, the residents of the villages did not have a bomb shelter, and the Iron Dome does not intercept rockets aimed at “open spaces”, where most of the unrecognized villages are situated.
The organizations also emphasized that there are serious gaps between the number of pupils and teachers in the schools and the capacity of the bomb shelters located in the educational institutions, and that many schools are composed of mobile structures only, so that there is no protected space at all. “It is an absurd situation in which the state is aware of the danger but does nothing, and when a family living in a Bedouin village hears the siren that often comes from the nearby Jewish community, there is nothing left for them to do but pray. It is It is inconceivable that the authorities are stumping on their basic right to life – this is negligence at the highest level, which will cause trauma and more losses of life”, said Haia Noach, Executive Director of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality.
on the 16th of June, 2019, NCF issued a formal complaint letter to the Broadcasting Authority in Israel regarding the racist and inflammatory remarks made by Dr. Yitzhak Noy on his radio program, as part of the “Shavuot Special”.
In the second part of the program, Yitzhak Noy interviewed Dr. Yitzhak Clinton Bailey, a renowned researcher of the Bedouin population in Israel. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on his research and books, he chose to use the opportunity to incite against the Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel. During the program, Yitzhak Noy presented Bailey with offensive, racist and prejudiced questions about the Arab Bedouin society.
For example, at the start of the interview Noy said: “… (Israelis) quite a few do not like them, there are quite a few among us who think that they constitute a danger to the existence of the State of Israel, in their reproduction, in their culture, in their pursuit of radical Islam”. In the second part of interview, Noy continued with his racist incitement. While Dr. Bailey wished to speak about the Bedouin culture of hospitality and about Arab Bedouin poetry, Noy decided to ask him the following: “Some of the Israelis are panic-stricken, because the Bedouin are known as first-rate murderers… “.
NCF filed a formal complaint with the Broadcasting Authority as a result of Yitzhak Noy’s remarks, asking him to apologize immediately for his abusive comments. Declaring an entire population as “murderers” and “existential threat” is racist and such remarks have no place in a democratic society. They are dangerous and inflammatory and should be condemned.
UPDATE: On the 26th of June 2019, Yitzhak Noy was suspended from his radio show.
The Coalition for Strengthening the Negev Cities
Government Resolution No. 748, entitled “Examination of the Establishment of New Settlements in the Naqab”, was adopted on November 22, 2015, with the aim of promoting the establishment of five new community settlements in the Negev/Naqab in order to increase the population in the area and attract additional communities to settle in the Negev/Naqab. The proposed plan had far-reaching implications for the future of the Negev/Naqab in general, and for Arab Bedouin citizens in the area in particular. Therefore, the Coalition for Strengthening the Negev Cities opposes the said plan and called to stop all plans for new settlements immediately. Instead, the organizations demanded authorities expand and strengthen existing settlements in the Negev/Naqab, which are in need of infrastructure, as well as to act for the recognition and planning of the unrecognized Bedouin villages, which are in desperate need of basic infrastructure, planning and development plans.
Fortunately, on July 24 2008, the Committee for Planning Issues in Jerusalem decided to disqualify four of the six settlements that the Ministry of Construction and Housing sought to establish in the Negev/Naqab.
The establishment of small communities for the rich, most of them exclusively for Jews, is harming tens of thousands of Bedouin in the Negev/Naqab who have been struggling to be recognized for decades, since the establishment of the State of Israel.
MAZON Fund is an American fund that operates in the United States and Israel to fight the causes of hunger and poverty.
The Coalition’s Acitvities:
The Negev Bedouin community suffers from abject poverty and food insecurity and is at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in Israel. In cooperation with a large number of organizations, the Forum for Coexistence works to improve the economic and social situation of tens of thousands of Bedouins in the Negev with the help of local lobbying and advocacy, such as the employment of Arab Bedouin women, improving access roads and public transportation.
Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages
Arab-Bedouin Women Employment Conference
The Bedouin communities in the Negev/Naqab suffer from economic hardship and severe poverty. A major difficulty is reflected in the labor market, where many members of the community suffer from inferiority in competition for job placements, exclusion and discrimination, among other reasons. As women from an ethnic minority, Bedouin women in the Negev/Naqab are subject to dual discrimination and exclusion, which forces them into poverty, unemployment or low-wage employment and under inappropriate conditions.
About the conference:
The Arab-Bedouin Women’s Employment Conference was supported by MAZON Fund . and in cooperation with Yedid in Rahat and Sidreh, the Desert Embroidery Society.
As part of the conference, we discussed the main obstacles that make it difficult for Arab -Bedouin women in the Negev/Naqab to integrate into the labor market. In addition, we presented to the general public testimonies of Bedouin women from the recognized villages, the governmental townships and the unrecognized villages, about their daily struggles with discrimination, racism, poor education, lack of public transportation and lack of jobs.
The conference was attended by women and professionals from various government ministries and members of the Knesset (MK Ida Touma Suleiman, Chairperson of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality in the Knesset); MK Ahmed Tibi, MK Michal Rozin, Meretz faction).
MK Michal Rozin signed the conference: “I believe that you should have proper representation. I want to see a Bedouin woman not only in the local authorities, but also in the Knesset, and even in the government, inshallah! “
As part of our advocacy project promoting Arab Bedouin women’s employment, NCF found that the Ministry of Education intends to stop funding the program to complete education that mostly serves Arab Bedouin women from the Negev/Naqab (95% of the participants).
The program provides primary education for non-literate women, as well as completion of education up to a matriculation certificate for women who dropped out of school or did not have access to basic education.
NCF initiated a public campaign, which included a petition (in partnership with Zazim), signed by more than 620 citizens; a letter on behalf of five organizations (Sidreh, Shatil, Adva Center, AlHuquq Center) to the Minister of Education Naftali Bennet, Minister of Economy Haim Katz, Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel. A second letter on behalf of six Members of Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) was also sent to the Minister of Education; the distribution of a position paper and other publications in the media.
During an initiated deliberation in the Education Committee, MKs Merav Ben-Ari, Mossi Raz, Yossi Yonha, and Said al-Harumi, more than 10 MKs from all the political spectrum, demanded that the funding be restored for the program and acknowledged the necessity of such programs for Bedouin women.
*This campaign is still ongoing in 2019