The El Bat village is located 4.5 km north of Kseifa township, north of route 31, with population of about 1,400 people. The village exists prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. Its name derives from the hills that surround the western side of the village (El Bat in Arabic means armpit). There are ancient caves in the village, some water pits that the villagers dug in the past and remains of ancient dwellings. 4 large families live in the village: Abu Sbeich, El Romana, A Saraia and Abu Rabia have been living in this place before 1948. Most of the families have ownership claims to the lands. In 1998 the residents were advised by the State that they live on firing grounds and therefore have to evict their homes. Since then the local committee (together with the late Ibrahim Abu Sbeich, native of the village, and deputy of the unrecognized villages association) started negotiating the regularization of the village, together with the planning committee of Abu Basma. In 2012 a detailed plan approved the village as an agricultural neighbourhood of the planned township Marit. As part of the plan, the residents of El Bat agreed to compromise and move from part of their lands to an area east of their present location, as well as securing plots to families who don’t own lands. Nevertheless, so far no infrastructure was developed in the village, except for the opening of several kindergatens.
Infrastructure and services
There is no clinic or school in the village and the residents have to travel to Kseifa for these services. 3 buses drive each day the children to the school in the township Kseifa. 2 kindergartens operate in the village. As of August 2019, the villagers buy their water from Meimei Negev supplier, like most of El Kasum Regional Council residents. For the time being the tariff is 8.6 IS per cube, until the residents change their address to Michol. Most of the electricity is supplied by solar panels. The access road to the village was built by the residents but since it is not authorized, it takes more time to drive in and out of the village and prevents the children from driving to school in the winter. Following the building of a caravan neighbourhood for Bedouin soldiers close to the village, development work has started in 2019, including an asphalt road close to the village.
El Bat’s residents face frequent visits from the various enforcement authorities – Yoav unit, the Green Patrol and inspectors of the planning administration. Most of the residents who receive demolition orders prefer to demolish the houses themselves in order to prevent possible trauma from their children when faced with enforcement bodies.