Fed Up With Poor Driving, Sheikhs and Imams Begin Preaching Road Safety to Bedouin Community

Project sponsored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Israel Police, the National Center for Child Safety and Health (B'terem) and the Road Safety Authority.

Yanir Yagna
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Yanir Yagna

Sheikhs and imams are fed up with the driving culture among Israel's Bedouin population and have taken steps to improve driving skills in the community. For the past two months 23 Bedouin clerics have attended driving improvement workshops at the Rahat community center, in the Negev. They have attended lectures, taken cars out onto the roads and written papers about driving practices.

The project is sponsored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Israel Police, the National Center for Child Safety and Health (B'terem ) and the Road Safety Authority.

After taking part in the program, the sheikhs and imams will begin spreading the word about safe driving during the traditional Friday prayer services in their mosques.

"We view this as a special mission. Our horizons were widened, and we learned a lot about what happens on the roads in the Bedouin community," Sheikh Abu Zargal Gama, of Rahat, said.

"Now that the course has ended, we will start our own work in mosques, at special events, even at weddings; we will talk about the importance of road safety everywhere," Sheikh Abu Zargal Gama said.

According to figures issued by the Israel Police, over the course of the past year six Bedouin infants were killed after being run over in yards, driveways and alleys in Bedouin communities. Between 2006 and 2014, there were 14 deaths in road accidents in Rahat.

"The Arab population represents just 20% of Israel's total population, yet 58% of road accidents involve Israeli Arabs and Bedouin," said Salman al-Karnawi, who directs Rahat's road safety bureau and who coordinated the special course for the sheikhs and imams.

"The statistics scare us," he added.

The program was initiated after officials from the Transportation Ministry and the Interior Ministry's Muslim Department determined that Bedouin religious leaders have the power to influence members of their community.

"We have an hour to give sermons each week, and we will take advantage of this in mosques to deliver messages that we learned in this course," Sheik Khalil al-Baz, who attended the program, said.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

בנימין נתניהו השקת ספר

Netanyahu’s Israel Is About to Slam the Door on the Diaspora

עדי שטרן

Head of Israel’s Top Art Academy Leads a Quiet Revolution

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

Skyscrapers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv.

Israel May Have Caught the Worst American Disease, New Research Shows

ג'אמיל דקוור

Why the Head of ACLU’s Human Rights Program Has Regrets About Emigrating From Israel

ISRAEL-VOTE

Netanyahu’s Election Win Dealt a Grievous Blow to Judaism