Israel’s Ministry of Transportation has placed bus stops at the entrances to unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev following a joint campaign by NIFC project partner Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and a number of organizations funded by the NIF global network including Sikkuy-Aufoq – For a Shared and Equal Society, Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Negev Coexistence Forum, and Rabbis for Human Rights.
Sikkuy-Aufoq said, “Six years ago, we launched a campaign to prevent an injustice in which children, women and men had to walk for kilometers by the side of main roads in the sun and rain to reach a bus stop. After years of intensive work, together with the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, including comprehensive mapping that we conducted together in 2017, we are delighted to report that the Ministry of Transportation has approved the setting up of 18 new bus stops at the entrances to recognized and unrecognized villages. Two have already been built. These bus stops will improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of Arab citizens of Israel, strengthen their personal safety, and make their journeys to clinic, work, educational and university frameworks, or any other place, more accessible.”
“The campaign is not over and we demand approval of more bus stops near other villages and to make sure that public transportation is available to residents in surrounding villages, which will provide a solution to the residents’ needs in the surrounding villages. There is still a long way to go, but we are here to continue helping all the organizations working for full equal rights and access to resources for Arab-Bedouin society in the Negev.”