Halt Bedouin evictions, say UK rabbis

Anger over Israel’s plans to remove 40,000 from villages in the Negev

By Anna Sheinman, June 13, 2013
Bedouin are facing “a great injustice” (Photo: Reuters)

Bedouin are facing “a great injustice” (Photo: Reuters)

Sixty-five British rabbis from across the community have written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protesting against a proposed law that could see 40,000 Bedouin evicted from their homes.

The British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights (BFRHR), including rabbis from Orthodox, Masorti, Liberal and Reform denominations, called the Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev “a great injustice”.

The letter read: “The Bill’s proposal to resettle the Bedouin in development towns disregards traditional family and kinship ties of the Bedouin and the communal and social fabric of their villages, and has already been shown to result in disastrous levels of unemployment, destitution and disillusion.”

It asserted: “As it stands, the Bill is likely to do serious damage to the international reputation of the state of Israel. A just and proper process will enhance Israel’s international standing.”

The rabbis called for a “proper consultative process” with the Bedouin people to settle land claims.

A copy of the letter was delivered to the Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub.

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, chair of BFRHR, said: “The ambassador listened carefully to our questions and concerns.

“Now what matters is that this Bill that could drastically alter so many people’s lives is challenged in the Knesset, as it is being challenged throughout the world.”

Last updated: 7:45pm, June 13 2013