Making up a fifth of the Israeli population, Palestinian citizens of Israel, or Arab-Israelis, are among the most disadvantaged populations in Israel.
For example, while 14% of Jewish families live in poverty, almost 50% of Palestinian families do so. Far fewer Palestinians, particularly women, have access to employment, and almost twice the number of Palestinians do not complete high school compared to Jewish-Israelis.
Although many of these markers have improved over the years, there is still much work to be done, particularly in the Negev, where most of the Bedouin communities are concentrated. Around 100,000 Bedouin live in so-called ‘unrecognised villages’ where they are totally abandoned by the government. The villages lack access to running water and electricity, and are in constant threat of having their homes demolished, despite some of them having lived there for decades. In these unrecognised villages, the poverty rate exceeds 80%.
Learn more about Bedouin communities in Israel in ‘The Other Haggadah’, our special supplement for the Pesach haggadah, which features a video interview with the director of NIF Shatil Be'er Sheva office, Sultan Abu Obaid
Spotlight: Al-Hukok Centre
The Al-Hukok Centre is the first specialist legal aid centre run by, and for, the Bedouin community in Israel. Virtually all of its work is funded by philanthropy, allowing the lawyers to work pro-bono for clients.
One of Al-Hukok’s projects works directly with Bedouin in unrecognised villages to help them gain access to basic services like water, electricity, health and education services. Staff prepare and present cases before the Supreme Court, aiming to improve the lives of some of Israel’s poorest.