Regavim launches a hard-hitting campaign, calling upon the Israeli government to stop the downward spiral and save the Negev – before it’s too late.

For years, the Israeli government has attempted to counter the loss of governance and the spread of illegal squatters’ camps in southern Israel by offering “compensation” payments and free land to the Bedouin of the Negev – who continue to reject any and all of the government’s increasingly generous offers, because they know that their hardball tactics will be rewarded with more attractive offers as time goes by.

The Regavim Movement has launched a new campaign to address this massive – and growing – problem. The first video clip of the campaign illustrates where the Negev is headed, and what Israel will look like when the Bedouin “country-within-a-country” is established. Regavim’s campaign is a response to a string of recent incidents that have highlighted the anarchy that continues to plague the Negev. The campaign calls upon the Israeli government to put a stop to the downward spiral, and to prevent the creation of a state-within-the-state in the Negev.

In recent years, the State of Israel seems to have lost its grip: Sovereignty in the southern region of Israel has been relinquished to the state that is slowly being built in the Negev. More and more illegal enclaves continue to spring up throughout the territory – and all the while, the Israeli government continues to turn a blind eye.

The takeover of the territory through the construction of tens of thousands of illegal structures has been accompanied by a complete breakdown of governance and the loss of personal security for all the residents of the area – Jews and Bedouin alike. Gangs of criminals continue to invade IDF bases and steal weapons and other equipment; they assault soldiers in broad daylight on main roads and snatch their weapons without fear. Adding insult to injury, the bandits record themselves in real time – marauding on IDF bases, smuggling drugs, shooting up residential neighborhoods with automatic weapons – and upload the videos to social media.

The constant stream of shocking news from the Negev led to the Regavim Movement’s decision to address the issues head on – before the loss of control reaches the point of no return.

Regavim CEO Meir Deutsch: “Ben-Gurion, who famously declared that the resolve of the People of Israel will be tested and proved in the Negev, must be turning over in his grave at the sight of the abandonment of the Negev and the devolution of southern Israel into an ex-territorial no man’s land. Instead of increasing enforcement and governance, instead of iron-fisted rule of law and the dissolution of the illegal squatters’ camps, the Israeli government is whitewashing and ‘legalizing’ them, perpetuating and enabling the Bedouin takeover.”

ג'וליס
Druze township of Julis in the Galil

Israel’s Regional Planning and Construction Board (Northern District) has approved the publication of a new municipal masterplan for Julis, a Druze township in the Galilee.

The new masterplan paves the way for construction of some 3,000 new housing units, providing residential opportunities that will allow the township to double its population to 12,5000 residents while enabling major improvements to existing infrastructure alongside development of new services and public institutions.

The masterplan was released on Tuesday (October 13).

Many of the new housing projects will utilize already-existing land reserves and newly-expanded construction rights, while others will be built on newly-acquired municipal land reserves, allotted to Julis as part of an expansion project launched by the National Planning Authority.

The plan sets aside some 300 dunams for commercial use, as well as 100 dunams of green spaces. Among other things, the new masterplan will convert the town center and its historic landmarks into a pedestrian mall.

The Regavim non-profit organization applauded the new plan.

“Well-designed planning that makes full use of land reserves while addressing the need to develop housing and employment opportunities is the basis of modern, efficient land-use policy,” said Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim.

“These principles should be at the heart of all future planning in Israel, particularly in communities that developed over the years without any oversight or long-term vision.

“Organized, forward-thinking policy of this kind is in the best interests of the residents themselves, who will finally enjoy the benefits of urban planning – modern infrastructure, improved living and working conditions, and a cleaner, brighter, more promising future.”

This article appeared on JewishPress