The unrecognized village of az-Zarnūg predates the establishment of the State of Israel and houses roughly 5,000 people. The name of the village means “stream” or “brook” in Arabic, and the village is named for the brook that runs nearby.
Since 2003 Medical services are provided at a clinic in the village that is open for limited hours. The clinic also serves the residents of neighboring villages and is constantly overcrowded. No pharmacy is available for lack of appropriate means of refrigeration.
The ‘Neve Midbar’ (oasis) school in the village was opened in 2000 and it combines an elementary school with junior high school. It serves about 900 students from az-Zarnūg and the neighboring villages. In 2018, the Village Committee opened negotiations with the Ministry of Education to open a high-school in the village. However, in 2019, the right-wing NGO “Regavim” petitioned the Court against the opening of the high school. In August 2019, a District Court Judge in Be’er Sheva rejected Regavim’s request to prevent the school from opening. In September 2019, the first high-school opened in the village, but in temporary constructions and with only a temporary permit.
The village is not connected to the electricity grid and power is supplied mostly through solar panels, purchased by the villagers. Water is drawn from a single designated spot on the main water-pipe located some 1.5 Km away from the village via plastic pipes laid at the expense of the consumers.
As in most unrecognized villages, house demolitions are frequent. Most of the area of az-Zarnūg is designated by the regional plans as a rural/agricultural area making recognition possible. A researcher appointed by the National Council for Planning and Construction in 2010 made a recommendation to this effect.
However, the situation in az-Zarnūg is unique in that there exists a claim for private ownership of part of the land of the village. In January 2010 the “Regavim” Association submitted a request to the Minister of the Interior to demolish all the buildings in the village, claiming that they were built on private land.