Bedouin Protest in Jerusalem Demands End of 'Neglect' in Israel's South

Demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister's Office is the continuation of protests against the JNF's forestation work in the Negev, where Israel's Bedouin demand recognition and development

Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Demonstration for the recognition of Bedouin localities in the Negev, on Sunday.
Demonstration for the recognition of Bedouin localities in the Negev, on Sunday.Credit: Emil Salman
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia

Around 200 Bedouin and other activists demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Sunday morning to protest the Jewish National Fund’s forestation work in the Negev. The demonstrators demanded that the government end its “policy of discrimination and neglect."

The protest was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and the National Council of Arab Mayors. Protesters demanded that the government grant legal recognition to the Negev’s unrecognized Bedouin villages and develop the area. They also demanded that everyone arrested during the protests of the past three weeks be released.

Sunday’s demonstration is part of an ongoing protest that began with the JNF’s tree-planting operation in the Negev three weeks ago. The plantings sparked clashes between police and demonstrators, and more than 60 Bedouin were arrested. Some have since been released.

Umm al-Fahm Mayor Samir Mahamid, who attended the demonstration, said his council’s goal is to bolster Arab residents of the Negev. The protesters have a clear message, he said – “let residents of the Negev live with dignity.”

Mahamid demanded that the government treat the Bedouin as “residents and human beings” and speak with them as equals, adding that he hoped both left and right would work together “to truly solve the humanitarian problem in the Negev.”

Ibrahim al-Turi, a social activist from the Negev, said he was afraid some Arab leaders agreed with the government’s policy. Like Mahamid, he said the demonstrators’ message is clear – “there is no negotiating over the Negev’s land, and nobody has the right to bargain over them.” This land “belongs to the residents, not the politicians,” he continued, and the protesters won’t abandon their struggle.

The Bedouin living in the Negev had said that the JNF’s forestation plan was being carried out in fields occupying their farming and herding zones, where residents had planted wheat a month prior.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can