(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Following the Cabinet decision
to implement a plan to provide for the status of Bedouin communities in the Negev and as part of the Government's ongoing dialogue with the Bedouin public about the plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning, 3 November 2011, met with the following Negev Bedouin community leaders: Rahat Mayor Fayez Abu Sahiban, Hura Mayor Dr. Muhammad Al-Nabari, Segev Shalom Mayor Omar Abu Muamar, Tel Sheva Mayor Musa Abu Isa, Kseifeh Mayor Salem Abu Ravieh, Lakia Mayor Khaled El-Sana, Aroer Acting Mayor David Bonfeld and Abu Basma Regional Council Acting Chairman Rahamim Yona. Minister Benny Begin, who was appointed to lead the dialogue between the Government and the Bedouin public about the plan, Goldberg report implementation team head Ehud Prauer, Construction and Housing Ministry Negev Bedouin Community Settlement Authority Director Yehuda Becher, and other senior officials also attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the plan constitutes an historic opportunity to bring about a significant improvement in the situation of the Bedouin community in the Negev and advance the Negev for the benefit of all of its residents - Jewish and Bedouin alike. "After years in which needs were insufficiently met, this Government decided to take matters in hand and bring about a long-term solution of the issue. The plan will allow the Bedouin, for the first time, to realize their assets and turn them from dead capital into living capital - to receive ownership of the land, which will allow for home construction according to law and for the development of enterprises and employment. This will jump the population forward and provide it with economic independence," the Prime Minister said.
Minister Begin emphasized that today's unique opportunity stems mainly from the process of transferring IDF bases to the Negev, which will greatly boost development in the region. Therefore, he said, it was important to invest now in areas such as employment and housing so that the Bedouin will take part in this development process and enjoy the fruits of the development and prosperity. The Minister added that he looks forward to the dialogue and hopes to bring about the creation of the best possible solution in the framework of the plan, on the basis of the broadest possible agreement.
The mayors thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for the decision to advance a comprehensive solution to the problem. They expressed their confidence that Minister Begin, whom he appointed to lead the dialogue process, ahead of the formulation of draft legislation. The participants commented on the plan in detail and discussed the main problems in their communities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated the mayors ahead of the Eid Al-Adha holiday and said that, "I welcome this meeting. Our state is leaping towards the future and you need to be part of this future. We want to help you reach economic independence. This plan is designed to bring about development and prosperity. This is an historic opportunity that must not be missed and in order for it to be realized, both sides must move forward."