The unrecognized village Az-Zarnūg pre exists the establishment of the State of Israel. Its population is about 5000 residents. The meaning of Zarnug is a brook and the village name derives from the brook that runs close to the village.
Infrastructures and services
Since 2003 medical services are provided in the clinic established in the village. The clinic is open for limited hours only and since it serves the neighbouring villages, it is very crowded. There is no pharmacy on the premises because there are no appropriate refrigeration conditions.
In 2000 the school Neve Midbar, primary and middle school, was built in the village with 900 students from Az-Zarnug and the neighbouring villages. In 2018 the residents of the village started a campaign to open a high school for more than 200 students who lack an educational solution close to home. The right wing association “Regavim” appealed against the building and opening of a high school in the village, but on August 29th 2019 the district judge in the Beer Sheva court ruled against their appeal. In September 2019 the first high school in the village opened but in temporary buildings and with temporary authorization.
The village is not connected to the national electricity grid and the power supply to the village is based on solar panels bought privately by the residents. Water is supplied from a connecting point to the main national water pipe located 1.5 km from the village’s homes and from there the water runs to the village by plastic pipes installed by the residents.
House demolitions occur frequently in Az-Zarnug, just as in all the unrecognized villages. According to the Beer Sheva Metropolis plan, most of the village’s land is designated for rural agricultural landscape which allows recognition of the village. A researcher that was appointed in 2010 by the national council for planning and building, recommended recognizing the village. However the situation of Az-Zarnug is unique since there is a private land claim for part of the village’s land. In January 2010 Regavim Association appealed to the Minister of the Interior requesting the demolition of all the buildings of the village claiming they were built on private land.
Presently (2019) , the authorities are negotiating with Az-Zarnug residents offering them to move to demarcated area No. 11 in the town of Rahat. Some of the villagers refuse to move to an urban settlement and demand that the State will recognize the village in its present location. The municipality of Rahat opposes the transfer of the village to its jurisdiction and presented in February 2019 its appeal to the national planning administration. The residents of the village and the municipality of Rahat appealed to the Supreme Court and achieved a remarkable decision by the court which ruled that “the plan for demarcated area No 11 is not personal for the Abu Kwider tribe and there is no restriction or prevention for marketing it to the residents of the town of Rahat”. Namely, area No. 11 can serve as a solution to the housing shortage of Rahat’s residents instead of the State’s policy of eviction of villages.