The needs of the Bedouin community and the changes that must come about are one of the original pillars of Blueprint Negev.
- 25% of the total population of the Negev are Bedouin; around 180,000 people.
- Approximately half live in seven municipalities; the rest live in unrecognized villages.
- Extremely low socio-economic status: 60% of families below official poverty line.
- Highest birth rate in the world.
- Low level of education and lack of other basic services.
- Nomadic society in transition.
- Communities have high crime rate and substance abuse rates.
- Few social activities or venues exist for the children.
How JNF is Helping
JNF is serious about addressing these challenges and is working with several Bedouin communities to effect change. Its leadership meets with regional councils to assess community needs and to develop solutions.
- JNF and KKL are proud partners in Project Wadi Attir. A joint initiative of the Bedouin municipality of Hura and the Sustainability Laboratory, a U.S.-based nonprofit, the project aims to establish a model for a radically innovative, sustainable desert farming operation that will contribute to the well-being of the Bedouin community of the Negev by creating stable income sources, fostering employment opportunities for women, increasing education, and assisting with capacity-building. Project Wadi Attir is designed to leverage Bedouin values, aspirations, and experience in desert agriculture with sustainability principles and cutting-edge approaches to animal husbandry, renewable energy production, resource recycling, soil enhancement, and arid land stewardship. Developed and driven by the Bedouin community, the project demonstrates a self-reliant approach to social and economic advancement faithful to key aspects of Bedouin tradition.
- JNF has embarked on a $7 million program to clean the river and create shoreline promenades in Rahat.
- In coordination with the Abu Basma Regional Council, which represents 80,000 Bedouin, JNF and its partners are seeking funding for projects in infrastructure development and education advancement much needed by this Negev population. The cornerstone is the Abu Basma Regional Council Complex/Medical Center. The land has already been donated by JNF, which will also provide infrastructure development and landscaping. This center would become a focal point for centralized services, and a medical clinic would help alleviate the overcrowding at area hospitals as well as create a training ground for new doctors and nurses from the Bedouin community. Proposed additional services include a fire-fighting station and employment–training center.
- JNF is proposing a joint plan with the Abu Basma region to tackle the issues of water supply and treatment, as well as the creation of parks and play areas.
- The annual Clean Up The World Campaign, a day of clean up worldwide held every September 20, is led in Israel by JNF. Every year Bedouin children are part of the growing number of students, soldiers and adults who clean up forests, open spaces and residential areas.
- Segev Shalom is a Bedouin village of 10,000 in the Negev. JNF funded a central park complete with an amphitheater around the community’s town hall.
Get involved and Donate to Working with Bedouin Communities. For naming opportunities call your local office at 888-JNF-0099.