Bill: Ask Social Worker before Evicting Bedouins

The government appears intent on passing a law that would give privileges to Bedouins facing eviction.

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Gil Ronen,

Illegal Bedouin shacks
Illegal Bedouin shacks
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

The government is favorably considering granting special privileges to Bedouin Arabs who face eviction from illegally built homes. The Arabs would be eligible for free legal representation, and a social worker's opinion would be required before a decision is made on eviction.

The Knesset decided Wednesday to take a bill proposed by MK Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash) that offers the Bedouin these privileges, and turn it into a motion for the agenda. Instead of Barakeh's bill coming up for a vote in the Knesset, it would then be discussed in a committee, while the government formulates a similar bill on its own.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) told the Knesset plenum that "we need to find the proper way, as part of the policy and with great sensitivity vi-a-vis people in difficult social conditions, so as not to lead to destruction."

The bill's author notes that the destruction of Bedouin homes causes Bedouin families "much distress." Therefore it recommends that in every case of possible demolition as a result of a legal process against Bedouin, the court will hear the opinion of a social worker and a statement from the Authority for Regularization of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, regarding an alternative location for the Bedouin to live in.

Thirty one MKs voted in favor of turning the bill into a motion for the agenda and one voted against it. It will go to the Interior Committee for discussion.