Minister Ariel: "We are not ‘doing a favor’ for the Bedouin citizens. We are working in order to provide Israeli citizens what they rightfully deserve."
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning (July 6, 2015), hosted at his residence the forum of heads of the Bedouin councils, together with Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Uri Ariel MK, to discuss possible solutions to the problems of Bedouin communities in the Negev.
At the beginning of the meeting, President Rivlin congratulated Minister Ariel for his concerted efforts on this issue and said, "We must find a solution. It is important to say that previous governments sought not to leave the issue unanswered, but worked to create the necessary budgetary conditions – though we are yet to reach our target."
The President added, "The Goldberg Report formulated the way for important steps to be taken, which sadly were not brought to be ratified. These are issues need to be passed by the widest possible majority and I think the Begin Report is the right place from which to move forward. I express my faith in the Minister, that he will know how to move forward from here, in order to find an acceptable solution to all sides."
Minister Ariel said, "We are not ‘doing a favor’ for the Bedouin citizens. We are working in order to provide Israeli citizens what they rightfully deserve. Time is working against us all, and we are making every effort, with the help of regional leaders, in order to reach the necessary understanding,"
The Minister invited the President to tour the region, and then asked the attending leaders to raise in their discussion the issues which needed resolving. Issues raised by the regional heads included: Problems relating to recognized and unrecognized towns; shortage of employment of opportunities; the allocation of resources during a period when the communities were growing constantly; severe lack of education infrastructure, and the destruction of homes. The President and the Minister listened closely to the regional leaders and ensured them of their cooperation and partnership to find the necessary solutions as soon as possible.