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Israel approves construction of housing for Bedouin, disabled populations

Town of Ir Ovot to include 500 homes for Bedouin residents; 20 percent of units in Shibolet and Daniel communities earmarked for people with disabilities

An unrecognized Bedouin village in the northern Negev (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)
An unrecognized Bedouin village in the northern Negev (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)

Israel on Monday approved the construction of several new towns in the Negev and Galilee geared to serve the Bedouin and disabled populations.

The Housing Cabinet approved the construction of the Shibolet and Daniel communities, Globes reported. Twenty percent of the units are earmarked for people with disabilities.

Shibolet, in the southern Galilee, will have a total of 350 units. Another 500 units will be built near Ofakim in the south.

The town of Ir Ovot, which will be built in the Arava region of the Negev, comes as part of the government’s effort to resettle the Bedouin minority in permanent housing.

Last year the government began legalizing many Bedouin homes in the Negev, but the Bedouins have been wary because their ownership was not being recognized. Many Bedouin communities lack basic infrastructure.

The issue of housing became a point of contention with the recent passing of Israel’s controversial nation-state bill, which says  the “state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

Critics say the new law promotes housing discrimination.

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