Resolution on Israel’s Bedouin Citizens

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has long been committed to the Zionist goal articulated in Israel's Declaration of Independence to "ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex" and

Whereas the Negev, according to the Torah, was the site of the very first peaceful resolution to a land dispute--the agreement between Abraham and Lot—as well as later land treaties with Avimelech; and

Whereas Israel is still dealing with poverty, inadequate education and social services for its Bedouin citizens living in the Negev and the Galilee, many of them in unrecognized villages with inadequate housing and infrastructure and

Whereas there is land enough in the Negev and Galilee both to create and nurture Jewish communities and to accommodate the Bedouin population in a mutually satisfactory manner.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly applauds the government of Israel for freezing the bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev (the “Prawer-Begin Plan”) and wishes Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, recently appointed to resolve the issue, success in the search for just and mutually agreed upon solutions of outstanding issues and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly congratulates the State of Israel for recognizing and investing in previously unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Galilee, and urges the Government to provide similar support for unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev, so that the residents of these villages can successfully participate in and contribute to Israeli society and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourages the government of Israel to take full advantage of the opportunity to craft a new plan by involving the Bedouins and their chosen leaders as equal partners in achieving the shared goal of resolving disputes, bringing needed resources to the Bedouin community and allowing the Bedouins to become productive and proud citizens of the State of Israel.