Al-Kasom Regional Council

al-Kasom Regional Council (Hebrew: מועצה אזורית אל קסום‎, Mo'atza Azorit El Kassum, Arabic: المجلس الإقليمي للالسحرية‎, Majlis Iqlimi al Kasom) is one of two Negev Bedouin regional councils formed as a result of the split of the Abu Basma Regional Council on November 5, 2012.[1][2] Al-Kasom regional council is in the northwestern Negev desert of Israel.

AlSayyid school4
School in al-Sayyid, under jurisdiction of al-Kasom regional council

It is made up of seven recognized Bedouin communities: Tirabin al-Sana, Umm Batin, al-Sayyid, Mulada, Makhul, Kukhleh (Abu Rubaiya) and Drijat (Durayjat).

A local school in Tirabin al-Sana
School in Tirabin al-Sana

The overall population is over 20,000 (as of June 2013). There are also Bedouin living in unrecognized villages whose exact number is unknown. The al-Kasom Regional Council, as well as Neve Midbar Regional Council are the main arena for the implementation of the Prawer Plan, which was shelved in 2013.


Legal background

Prior to the establishment of Israel, the Negev Bedouins were a semi-nomadic pastoralist society undergoing a process of sedentariness since the Ottoman rule of the region. During the British Mandate period, the administration did not provide a legal framework to justify and preserve lands’ ownership. In order to settle this issue, Israel's land policy was adapted to a large extent from the Ottoman land regulations of 1858 as the only preceding legal frame. Thus Israel nationalized most of the Negev lands using the state's land regulations from 1969 and designated most of it for military and national security purposes.[3]


PikiWiki Israel 33672 Drijat in northern Negev
Home in Drijat

The 1948 UN Partition Plan, which was accepted by the Jewish leaders, envisaged most of the Negev (including most of the ancestral Negev Bedouin territory) as part of a planned Arab state, with the Jewish State of Israel situated to the north in areas with an existing Jewish majority. However, after the rejection of the UN plan by the united Arab nations, their subsequent declaration of war on Israel, and their eventual defeat in the 1948 Palestine war, the Negev became part of Israel and the Negev Bedouin became Israeli citizens.

The new Israeli government continued the policy of sedentarization of Negev Bedouins imposed by the Ottoman authorities in the early 20th century, mirroring developments in nearby Arab nations. Early stages of this process included regulation of previously open lands used for grazing and re-location of Bedouin tribes. In the decades after the war of independence, the Israeli government was concerned about the allegiance of the Negev Bedouin to the new State, and thus re-located two-thirds of the southern Bedouin population into a closed area under the authority of the IDF.[3] This situation was maintained until the late 1970s.

Umm Batin house
Private residence and farm in Umm Batin

Starting in the 1980s the civilian government took back control of the northern Negev Bedouin from the IDF and began to establish purpose-built townships specifically for Bedouins in order to sedentarize and urbanize them, and to allow for the provision of government services. The government promoted these towns as offering better living conditions, proper infrastructure and access to public services in health, education, and sanitation. The new development towns constructed by the state in the 1980s absorbed a large proportion of the Negev Bedouin population but were unable to handle the entire Bedouin population, and their later reputation for crime and poor economy, together with a cultural preference for rural life, caused many Israeli Bedouin to shun these towns in favour of rural villages unapproved by the State.

Today, the government estimates that about 60% of Bedouin citizens of Israel live in permanently planned towns, while the rest live in unrecognised villages spread throughout the Negev.[4] These villages are considered illegal under Israeli law, and their legal status, coupled with their periodic demolition and evacuation by police, is the subject of considerable debate.

Abu Basma regional council

In 2003, the government decided to establish a new regional council, known as the Abu Basma Regional Council, in order to oversee the resettlement and development of Bedouin communities in the area around Be'er Sheva, Dimona, and Arad.[5] This was coupled by the formal recognition of a number of existing Bedouin villages within the council in order to encourage Bedouin to move from other unrecognised/illegal villages elsewhere in the Negev.[6]

The council was established by the Israeli Ministry of Interior on 28 January 2004.[7] At the time, the regional council had a population of approximately 30,000 Bedouins and a total land area of 34,000 dunams, making it the most populous regional council in the Southern District but the smallest in jurisdiction.[8] There was considerable controversy within the Bedouin community regarding the establishment of this council. The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages (RCUV) argued that while the creation of the Abu Basma Regional Council would set a precedent for the transformation of unrecognized villages into urban ghettos by limiting their boundaries to the area of habitation and zoning most Bedouin grazing grounds; this type of de jure recognition has not entailed the introduction of business districts or de facto recognition through equitable provision of education, health, transportation and municipal waste services long denied to, and demanded, by the Bedouin community.[9][10]

Prawer plan

In September 2011, the Israeli government approved a five-year economic development plan called the Prawer plan.[11] One of its implications is a relocation of some 30.000-40.000 Negev Bedouin from areas not recognized by the government to government-approved townships.[12][13]

The plan is based on a proposal developed by a team headed by Ehud Prawer, head of policy planning in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). This proposal was based on the recommendations of the committee chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg.[11] Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Doron Almog was appointed as the head of the staff to implement the plan to provide status for the Bedouin communities in the Negev.[14] Minister Benny Begin was appointed by the cabinet to coordinate public and Bedouin population comments on the issue.[15]

The Prawer plan was part of an effort to develop the Negev and bring about better integration of the Bedouin in Israeli society, significantly reducing economic and social gaps. A vast investment of NIS 1.2 billion was approved by the government to promote employment among Bedouin women and youth. Funds were allocated to the development of industrial zones, such as Idan haNegev, establishment of employment centers and professional training.

Tirabin al-Sana mosque
Tirabin al-Sana mosque under construction, using dome from mosque in old Tarabin encampment near Omer

As a part of this plan some previously unrecognized Bedouin communities in the Negev would be officially recognized and receive all basic infrastructure: electricity, water, sewage, education and medical services. One of the main principles of this plan was close cooperation with the local Bedouin communities.

The Prawer plan is meant to find a solution to numerous land claims filed by the Negev Bedouin. They claim the ownership of land totaling some 600,000 dunams (60,000 hectares or 230 square miles) - it is 12 times the size of Tel Aviv.[4] It's physically impossible to approve all of these land claims because it will have a negative impact on all the local population and make it impossible to build and improve the infrastructure. In order to accept all these claims the state would have to give up on constructing industrial zones, ecological parks, highways and railroads that serve all the population of Israel, including the Bedouin. This plan has drawn criticism. Critics say the Prawer Plan will turn Bedouin dispossession into law[16][17] and come to a conclusion that relocation of the Bedouin will be compelled. Some even speak about ethnic cleansing.[18] As a result, these remarks provoked heavy criticism of the plan by the European Parliament.[19]

After a number of complicated discreet agreements with the state all of the Bedouin of Tarabin clan moved into a township built for them with all the amenities - Tirabin al-Sana.[4] Following negotiations, the Bedouin of al-'Azazme clan will take part in the planning of a new quarter that will be erected for them to the west of Segev Shalom, cooperating with The Authority for the Regulation of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Information for the citizens, Abu Basma Regional Council official site (Hebrew)
  2. ^ Ethnomathematics of Negev Bedouins’ Existence in Forms, Symbols, and Geometric Patterns
  3. ^ a b Dor Fridman. "About the Negev Bedouins". LocalEconomySeminar. Archived from the original on 2012-07-05.
  4. ^ a b c Bedouin information, ILA, 2007 Archived 2011-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Beduin in Limbo The Jerusalem Post, 24 December 2007
  6. ^ Government resolutions passed in recent years regarding the Arab population of Israel Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine Abraham Fund Initiative
  7. ^ The Bedouin Population in Transition: Site Visit to Abu Basma Regional Council Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, 28 June 2005
  8. ^ Spatial Inequality in the Allocation of Municipal Resources Adalah, December 2004
  9. ^ RCUV Requests Comment to the Goldberg Commission regarding Bedouin Settlement in the Negev
  10. ^ Jonathan Cook.Making the land without a people; Al-Ahram Weekly, 26 Aug-1 Sep 2004
  11. ^ a b Cabinet Approves Plan to Provide for the Status of Communities in, and the Economic Development of, the Bedouin Sector in the Negev, PMO official site, September 11, 2012
  12. ^ Al Jazeera, 13 September 2011, Bedouin transfer plan shows Israel's racism
  13. ^ Guardian, 3 November 2011, Bedouin's plight: "We want to maintain our traditions. But it's a dream here"
  14. ^ Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Doron Almog to be Appointed as Head of the Staff to Implement the Plan to Provide Status for the Bedouin Communities in the Negev, PMO official site, December 1, 2011
  15. ^ Cabinet approves Prawer Report to resolve land issues in the Negev Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, UK Task Force, September 19, 2011
  16. ^ Bill will turn Bedouin dispossession into Israeli law Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine, Alternative news, January 2, 2012
  17. ^ Neve Gordon, Uprooting 30,000 Bedouin in Israel, Al Jazeera, April 3, 2012
  18. ^ David Sheen, [1], Haaretz, November 11
  19. ^ Haaretz, 8 July 2012, European Parliament condemns Israel's policy toward Bedouin population
  20. ^ Yanir Yagna, For the first time: Bedouin to take part in planning of their new neighborhood (Hebrew), Haaretz, July 1, 2012

External links

Coordinates: 31°15′28″N 34°58′26″E / 31.25778°N 34.97389°E

Abu Basma Regional Council

Abu Basma Regional Council (Hebrew: מועצה אזורית אבו בסמה‎, Moatza Ezorit Abu Basma, Arabic: مجلس إقليمي أبو بسمة‎, Majlis Iqlimi Abu Basma) was a regional council operating in 2003-2012 and covering several Bedouin villages in the northwestern Negev desert of Israel. Following the Minister of Interior decision on November 5, 2012 it was split into two newly created bodies: Neve Midbar Regional Council and al-Kasom Regional Council.

Al-Sayyid, Israel

For the village in Syria see al-Sayyid, Syria. Al-Sayyid is also the Arabic name for El Cid.Al-Sayyid or al-Sayed (Arabic: السيد‎; Hebrew: א-סייד‎) is a Bedouin village in Israel. Located in the Negev desert between Arad and Beersheba and just south of Hura, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 the village's population was 3,796.


Drijat (Arabic: دريجات‎; Hebrew: דריג'את‎), also known as Draijat, is an Arab village in southern Israel. Located in the Negev desert near Arad, between Kuseife and the Yatir Forest, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 its population was 1,153.


Kukhleh (Arabic: كحله‎; Hebrew: כוחלה‎) is a Negev Bedouin village in southern Israel. Located between the Bedouin towns of Hura and Kuseife, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 182.


Makhul (Hebrew: מַכְּחוּל) is a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in southern Israel. Located near Tel Arad, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 490.


Mulada (Hebrew: מולדה‎), also known as Sa'wa (Hebrew: סעוה‎), is a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The village covers 11,000 dunams (900 hectares) and is home to the al-Atrash and al-Hawashla tribes. It falls under the jurisdiction of Al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 385.

Regional council (Israel)

Regional councils (plural: Hebrew: מוֹעָצוֹת אֵזוֹרִיּוֹת, Mo'atzot Azoriot / singular: Hebrew: מוֹעָצָה אֵזוֹרִית, Mo'atza Azorit) are one of the three types of Israel's local government entities, with the other two being cities and local councils. As of 2019, there were 54 regional councils, usually responsible for governing a number of settlements spread across rural areas. Regional councils include representation of anywhere between 3 and 54 communities, usually spread over a relatively large area within geographical vicinity of each other.Each community within a regional council usually does not exceed 2000 in population and is managed by a local committee. This committee sends representatives to the administering regional council proportionate to their size of membership and according to an index which is fixed before each election. Those settlements without an administrative council do not send any representatives to the regional council, instead being dealt by it directly. Representatives from those settlements which are represented directly are either chosen directly or through an election. The predominant form of communities represented on regional councils are kibbutzim and moshavim.

Tirabin al-Sana

Tirabin al-Sana (Hebrew: תראבין א-צאנע‎), also Tarabin (Arabic: ترابين‎), is a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The village was built for the Tarabin tribe. Located near Rahat and Mishmar HaNegev, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 565.

Umm Batin

Umm Batin (Arabic: أم بطين‎; Hebrew: אום בטין‎) is a Bedouin village in southern Israel. Located in the northern Negev desert, 12 km northeast of Beersheba and adjacent to the highway 60, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 3,443.

Unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel

Unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel are rural Bedouin communities in the Negev and the Galilee which the Israeli government does not recognize as legal. Often they are referred to as "unrecognized villages".

al-Kasom Regional Council
Center District
Haifa District
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Judea and Samaria Area
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See also

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