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Representing the Bedouin residents of unrecognized Negev villages


Thriving Bedouin Agricultural Communities


The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in the Negev – RCUV - is a grassroots civil society organization, democratically elected by 150,000 citizens in 46 unrecognized or unplanned Bedouin villages.

Our Vision


We prioritize success and prosperity for Bedouin communities in the Negev, nurturing Bedouin culture while respecting residents' aspirations. We envision an environment where residential construction  meets  with the state building code, utilizing village and traditional lands for economic development. This includes equitable access to public services, state resources, and democratic participation on par with Jewish citizens.


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Key Goals

  • Government Recognition: Advocate for official recognition of Bedouin villages.

  • Inclusive Planning: Encourage regional planning of the villages and land use as a source of livelihood while and village structures and preserving traditions.

  • Empowering Villagers: Strengthen capacities in economics and advocacy, providing understanding and tools for effective participation.

  • Mitigating Suffering from Government Policies: Advocate for improved government services, eliminate home demolitions, and alleviate land expropriation policies.

  • Fostering Public Support: Foster widespread support for the recognition of Bedouin communities.

  • Community Solidarity: Strengthen unity within each community and across the Arab rural Negev, essential for effective resistance against divisive strategies.


Home to approximately three hundred thousand Arabs, constituting approximately 40% of the region's total residents, the Negev represents a unique demographic landscape. However, this community faces a paradox—although they are a significant portion of the Negev residents, their land occupancy is disproportionately small. Nearly half of these individuals live in unrecognized villages, collectively occupying a mere 3.5% of the vast Negev landscape. A critical point of contention revolves around a miniscule 1.5% of the total land in the Negev, with profound implications for the residents of these communities. The unequal distribution isn’t limited to land alone. Life in the unrecognized villages is characterized by a scarcity of basic services such as water, electricity, health, and education. Furthermore, the residents grapple with a profound lack of land security, having witnessed thousands of demolitions since the 1970s. Even today, they face an ongoing threat of having their homes razed to the ground. The predicament of these Bedouin villages transcends the local context; it is one of the foremost environmental and planning challenges facing the Palestinian minority in Israel. Regional planning in Israel, embedded in a complex web of political, economic, and ethnic power structures, plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape. The state's planning policy has historically aimed to concentrate Bedouin communities in limited areas, disrupting their historical space and accelerating processes of modernization and urbanization. This approach treats the Negev as an empty canvas, favoring the development of Jewish areas at the expense of Arab rights. The fundamental rights of Arabs in the Negev to their ancestral lands face systemic challenges, underscoring the urgent need for advocacy and cha

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Credit: Lulid Alubera

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Theory of Change

Amidst generations of government neglect, the Council of Unrecognized Villages steps into the fray, taking proactive measures to address the plight of residents in these marginalized communities. The council employs a multifaceted strategy, leveraging legal avenues, participation in government committees, policy papers, and public opinion campaigns. In essence, the council serves as the voice of the 150,000 residents, relentlessly advocating for the fulfillment of their rights and needs. The tangible outcomes of these efforts are substantial. Seventeen villages have received recognition, marking a pivotal step forward. Collaborating with elected officials, the council has contributed to the formulation of a master plan encompassing the remaining 46 unrecognized villages. This comprehensive planning approach seeks to harmonize with the community's needs and cultural nuances, aligning with the overarching planning principles of the State of Israel. Referrals to the courts have proven instrumental in preventing the erasure and demolition of entire villages. These legal actions have compelled the state to establish essential public institutions, including schools and clinics. Additionally, adjustments to spatial outline plans have been made to acknowledge the existence of these villages, marking a crucial shift in recognizing the rights and existence of these communities. The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages doesn't merely serve as an advocate; it assumes roles that extend beyond the norm. In the absence of state intervention, the council takes charge of critical aspects such as transportation to elections, distribution of food stamps, issuance of residency permits, establishment of kindergartens, and more. This multifaceted approach is a testament to the council's commitment to ensuring the well-being and stability of these communities on multiple fronts.

October 7th

The seventh of October stands as a poignant moment in the collective memory of the residents of the unrecognized villages. It was a day when they faced adversity without the shields of protection of the iron dome, or the immediate availability of medical services. Compounded by their integration into the economy of the Western Negev, many were significantly affected. Amid this crisis, the Arab population in the Negev demonstrated resilience and solidarity. In the absence of formal shields, they rallied to help the victims with transportation, rescue operations, and immediate reporting to work at emergency centers. This display of community support highlights the interconnectedness and shared responsibility among the Arab population in the Negev, underscoring the strength derived from unity in times of crisis. The aftermath of the seventh of October thrust the residents of unrecognized villages into a state of vulnerability, compounded by the lack of a municipal authority to oversee their care and rehabilitation. In this vacuum, the Council of Unrecognized Villages assumed a pivotal role. Their immediate response included mapping the immediate needs of the affected population, utilizing a comprehensive approach already in place for all village residents. Swift actions were taken to address physical and mental injuries, support claims for property damage, purchase insurance, and collaborate with government ministries to secure and place insurance. Additionally, the council spearheaded the distribution of thousands of food packages, meticulously tailored to align with the unique needs of Bedouin society. Simultaneously, they acquired and distributed hundreds of first aid kits, emphasizing the urgency of providing immediate relief and support to those affected. The communication efforts of the council became instrumental in challenging and reshaping the Israeli public's perception of the Bedouin community. The focus was on fostering recognition, understanding, and appreciation for the community's contributions, values, and the challenges they face. In essence, the seventh of October served as a catalyst for the Council of Unrecognized Villages to mobilize swiftly and effectively. Beyond immediate relief efforts, the council engaged in continuous communication initiatives, aiming to alter public opinion, instigate broader societal change, and ultimately garner recognition and respect for the Bedouin community. The comprehensive response of the council following the seventh of October is indicative of its commitment to the welfare, resilience, and empowerment of the residents in unrecognized villages. By addressing immediate needs and undertaking long-term advocacy, the council plays a pivotal role in not only responding to crises but also in shaping a more equitable and inclusive future for these marginalized communities.

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