February 24, 2024

The Education Committee Chairman, Yosef Tayeb, described the situation in the unrecognized Negev Bedouin villages as an emergency, criticizing the lack of protection from rockets and missiles for the school children. He highlighted that schools in these villages lacked bomb shelters for the staff and children, with some schools not even having essential supplies like water and electricity. According to the Knesset Research and Information Center, 21% of the schools in the Bedouin sector in the Negev have no protection, and 48% of the schools in the El Kassum local council have no protection. This has raised concerns among activists, such as Huda Abu Obaid, who have been advocating for better infrastructure and bomb shelters in these schools. The lack of shelter is particularly alarming as rockets have been falling in recognized settlements and unrecognized villages, leaving thousands of students exposed to danger. The situation was described as life-threatening by Tayeb, who expressed frustration with the state’s failure to address the issue despite previous warnings and court petitions. Local leaders have also highlighted the need for shelters in these schools, and have criticized the government for dragging its feet in addressing the problem. Some have even decided not to send their children to school to ensure their safety. The Forum for Coexistence in the Negev and other organizations have called for urgent action and comprehensive responses from the government to protect the students. Tayeb has promised to initiate discussions and work towards building shelters in these schools, but local leaders are skeptical, stating that such promises have been made in the past without any progress. They have stressed the urgency of the situation, emphasizing the need for concrete action rather than mere words.