Back to School at Negev Protest
While children throughout the country were excitedly (or reluctantly) going back to school, children from the Bedouin village of Al-Fura attended a protest demanding a primary school and four kindergartens for children in the unrecognized village.
In a makeshift school held in a tent, MKs Dov Khenin and Hanin Zoabi joined representatives of NIF grantees the Negev Coexistence Forum and Adalah, the Regional Council chair, the head of the Educational Department from Ben-Gurion University, and many activists from nearby Arad and from the Bedouin community.
“It’s sad that we are still struggling for the most basic of rights,” said Shatil community organizer Amir Abu Kweider, himself a Bedouin. After the protest, the government announced that it would build the school, although not in the location the villagers want it. “We are continuing the struggle,” Abu Kweider said.
The event was part of an intensive community organizing process led by Shatil’s Be’er Sheva office, which assisted residents in forming a community leadership council, filing multiple petitions with the Ministry of Education and the regional council, gathering necessary information, and connecting with professional organizations. The event catapulted the village leadership’s determination to fight for the school and recruited the broader Bedouin and Arab community to take up the cause on behalf of the village.