After 40 Years, Bedouin Village's School Finally Linked to the Power Grid

Unlike many Bedouin villages, Al-Sayyid is recognized as legal by the state.

Shirly Seidler
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The Bedouin village Al-Sayyid in the Negev, July 27, 2015.
The Bedouin village Al-Sayyid in the Negev, July 27, 2015.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Shirly Seidler

After four decades and a petition to the High Court of Justice, an elementary school in the Bedouin village of Al-Sayyid has finally been connected to the power grid.

Like many Bedouin schools in the Negev, this one had relied for years on generators, resulting in frequent outages. Moreover, an engineer from Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, concluded that the generators emitted poisonous fumes and sometimes leaked diesel fuel.

The elementary school was connected to the grid two weeks ago. Over the coming weeks, four other schools in Al-Sayyid — which unlike many Bedouin villages is recognized as legal by the state — will be hooked up as well. The Israel Electric Corporation has promised that all five schools will be online when the school year opens in September.

Two years ago, Adalah helped residents of Al-Sayyid and two other recognized Bedouin villages in the Negev petition the High Court to demand that seven schools serving some 3,000 students be linked to the grid. Following that petition, the IEC and the regional councils began installing the infrastructure needed to connect both these and other Bedouin schools.

Schools in Umm Batin have also been linked to the grid. But it is not clear when the final school covered by the petition, in Kuhla, will be hooked up. The IEC said it was still awaiting permits from the regional council.

Two schools in the village of Mulda, which were not part of the petition, are also due to be connected, but again it’s not clear when. The IEC said the delay stemmed from opposition by some residents to the infrastructure work.

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