Last week on Thursday, January 13th, Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel invited Naomi Kahn, the International Director for Regavim to join us for a lunchbreak conversation about events taking place in the Negev with the Bedouin.
Regavim is a public movement in Israel dedicated to ensuring a Jewish future in the Land of Israel by protecting its national lands and resources. Regavim’s research and recommendations are professional and well-regarded by the Israeli government.
Her recent writings about the Electricity Law had caught our attention, especially in light of the way the law was pushed through by Israeli MK’s who, at the same time, discriminated shamelessly against giving matching, equal access to Israel’s national electric, water and gas grids to Jews who live in Judea and Samaria.
And, as you will learn in the link below to our discussion, the Israeli government’s foolhardy and quick capitulation to Mansour Abbas’ demand to stop planting trees in the Negev exacerbates the lawlessness that pervades the members of the Negev Bedouin community who are also closely affiliated with the hostile Muslim Brotherhood.
In any event, the Electricity Law will do little to improve the lives of Abbas’ Bedouin voter base because there is little to no political will by anyone in the government to implement or enforce it, not to mention that many Bedouin don’t even want it. After all, why pay for something when you can keep obtaining it worry-free, which is what has been going on for decades in the Negev?
The Bedouin community in Israel is a mere 125 years old. Migrating northward from the Ottoman Empire’s southern Arabian Peninsula in the late 1800’s, the Bedouin had little to no interest culturally or politically about Eretz Yisroel which was then considered an undeveloped backwater. It was only with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 that the land became a valuable commodity to them.
Some Bedouin fought against Israel in the War of Independence while others served as valued scouts for the IDF, and by 1966 were no longer deemed a threat. In an effort to bring a semblance of order to the Negev, Israel conferred upon them Israeli citizenship along with land, money, goods and services.
Despite Israel’s generosity, the Bedouin philosophy that where one grazes one’s flocks, the area becomes his forever makes for “historic” land claims they use to justify building illegally without any deeds to the land and without legal planning or permits. Regavim meticulously checks every claim and has proven time and again that their assertions are untrue.
While many Bedouin have taken advantage of Israel’s educational opportunities to become professionals, there are lawless often armed gangs in Bedouin society which the Israeli police have not brought under countrol that drive lawlessly, steal from Israeli farms, ranches and IDF bases, and hurl rocks at Israeli vehicles.
Another segment bilk Israeli taxpayers every year of billions of shekels in welfare checks made out to them. Illegally practicing polygamy, these Negev Bedouin traffic Arab girls in from around Israel and the region to marry and bear large families, obtaining National Insurance support from the State of Israel.
Tragically these wives are often abused and discarded as so much trash to make way for the next poor girl who will garner her husband an additional package of meal tickets and other benefits. Many of these girls have been brought up to hate Jews and Israel by their card-carrying PLO parents; in their misery they raise their children the same way.
Unbelievably, some Bedouin are growing marijuana cash crops on IDF training grounds that were moved into the Negev. Yet next to nothing is done to stop it or prevent them from running lucrative businesses smuggling and selling this toxic, gateway drug all over Israel and the region - which is another reason, in part, why the Bedouin objected so violently last week to any forestation in the Negev that could interfere with their livelihood.
Overwhelming to say the least but readers can go to Regavim’s website and read their plan to restore Law and Order to the Negev: Plan-for-Regulating-Bedouin-Settlement-in-Negev.pdf (regavim.org). Here is the link to listen to my conversation with Naomi last week: https://we.tl/t-roLdru3aCi
Tamar Edelstein heads Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel.