Monday, 1 April, 2013 (Beer Sheva, Israel): In early April (2/4/13—6/4/13), NCF will host a cycling tour in cooperation with activists from Belgium and RCUV (The Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages). During the tour, twenty to thirty participants will bike everyday between a few villages. Another group will be walking between the villages. We will host an opening event at our cultural center in Beer Sheva on Monday (1.4.13) evening (6 pm), and a closing party will be hosted in the village of Al Arakib on Saturday (6.4.13) in the afternoon.
The purpose of the upcoming journey is to support Arab-Bedouin citizens who live in unrecognized villages in the Negev/Naqab and who struggle for recognition, equal civil rights and essential state services.
Thus, we will visit the village of Um El Hiran, which is doomed to be demolish to make way for a Jewish settlement in its place. Additionally, we will visit the village of Hashem Zane, which is on territory that the state plans to use to pave a new highway. We will also visit the largest Bedouin village in the Negev – Wadi Al Na’am (with more than 10,000 residents). According to the newly approved Prawer-Begin Plan, residents of Wadi Al Na’am will be relocated to the Segev Shalom township.
Each night, the activists will be hosted in one of the villages, will meet with the local community, and will participate in cultural activities. The journey will end in the village of Al Arakib, which has been demolished over 40 times in the last 3 years in order to plant a forest north of Beer Sheva.
NCF spokesman Ofer Dagan stated:
The cycling tour is a project aimed to achieve closer intercultural relations on the ground by working together towards equality and mutual respect and by resisting the current policy, which is devastating for all citizens of the Negev. We hope that the tour will broaden the scale of solidarity actions between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel and amplify our mutual call for a change in policy that will allow coexistence in the Negev and throughout the State.