photo–cc: flickr Bedouin Goats by Hoyasmeg
October 30, 2013 | Study: Fourfold unemployment increase anticipated in Bedouin sector if Prawer passed.
- The Prawer Plan aims to relocate Bedouins from their villages to the townships
- Today unemployment is four times higher in the townships than in Bedouin villages
- Artificial Bedouin townships are a recipe for unemployment and poverty
In preparation for deliberations on the Prawer Plan next week in the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, Rabbis for Human Rights is releasing a new study based on National Insurance Institute data.
According to the Prawer/Begin Plan, 40,000 Bedouins may be forcefully removed from their unrecognized villages as well as their agricultural lifestyles. The Bedouins will be moved to townships, some of which will be created by changing the agricultural character of several recognized villages. This study shows that over recent decades, coerced relocation of agricultural Bedouin to townships magnified unemployment and poverty in the Bedouin sector, as unemployment in the townships is four times higher than in the villages.
Currently, the government intends to repeat this mistake on a much larger scale with the transfer of an additional 40,000 Bedouins to towns and the transformation of several recognized agricultural villages to non-agricultural townships. Thus the Prawer/Begin Plan will magnify poverty and unemployment and will burden welfare budgets and services– to the detriment of all Negev residents.
As a case study, residents of the unrecognized village Al-Araqib testified that there had not been a single unemployed person in their village until the JNF and the Israel Lands Administration destroyed their fields and orchards, after which unemployment jumped to around 70%.
The study: An analysis of the condition of the Bedouins who have already been relocated to the seven recognized townships, which are largely disconnected from the agricultural lifestyle, reveals that unemployment rates, reliance on income support, and poverty are much higher in the townships than in the few Bedouin villages that have won recognition. Unfortunately, the government does not release data for unrecognized villages.
The study found, based on National Insurance Institute data, that the unemployment rate was almost four times higher in the townships than the villages, with the rate of reliance on income support about 1.5 times higher. Recognized Bedouin villages receive negligible government support and they lack basic infrastructure. The better conditions in the villages can be explained by the government’s allowing the Bedouin to continue practicing agriculture as their primary livelihood, which they cannot do in the townships.
The study was conducted by Rabbis for Human Rights members of the Recognition Forum, based on National Insurance Institute data for seven recognized Bedouin towns . This data was compared with data for three recognized Bedouin villages for which data is available (Bir Hadaj, Umm Batin, and al-Sayyid). These villages are members of the Abu Basma Regional Council.
Additional data and details:
In the Abu Basma Regional Council, where the recognized Bedouin villages are located:
For the 2009-2010 school year, 54.3% of all twelfth graders were eligible for matriculation certificates. The average monthly wage in 2009 was 4,136 NIS.
In Rahat (Bedouin township): For the 2009-2010 school year, 43.8% of all twelfth graders were eligible for matriculation certificates. The average monthly wage in 2009 was 3,961 NIS.
The average unemployment rate of all residents of Bedouin townships was 0.257% (the figure seems low because the unemployment rate is usually calculated in proportion to those employed or seeking employment, and here it’s calculated as a proportion of all residents). The average unemployment rate in the recognized villages (Abu Basma Regional Council) was 0.066%. Therefore, the unemployment rate in the Bedouin townships was almost four times higher (0.389 times) than the unemployment rate in the recognized villages, where the residents are able to continue practicing their agricultural lifestyle.
5.1% income support (families) in the townships; 3.46% income support (families) in the villages; 1.4 times more recipients of income support in the townships than the villages