Demanding Transportation for Arab Bedouin Children from Unrecognized Village of al-Za'arora to Preschools in Neighboring Villages

HCJ 100030/05, A'aref Ala'moor v. The Ministry of Education

Petition filed in 10/05 in Adalah’s own name, and on behalf of 51 children from the village and a number of educational organizations, against the Minister of Education, the Director of the Ministry of Education (MOE) – Southern District, the District Committee for Planning and Building – Southern District, the Regional Council for Planning and Building, and the Israel Lands Administration (ILA). The petitioners demanded transport for the 280 three and four year-old children from the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of al-Za’arora in the Naqab (Negev) to preschools in neighboring villages, or the construction of preschools in the village. Adalah has submitted two previous petitions to the Supreme Court on the issue (see H.C. 3757/03 and H.C. 5108/04), which resulted in the MOE committing before the Court to transport the children to preschools outside of the village. The MOE, however, refused to construct buildings for preschools within the village, due to its unrecognized status.

Adalah emphasized in the petition that the MOE has broken its commitment to provide transport for the children, who have been left without an educational framework. Adalah argued that the MOE’s failure violates the children’s right to education, which cannot be conditioned on the status of their village. Adalah further contended that the MOE is not implementing the Compulsory Education Law, which mandates education for children from age three, stressing that, although al-Za’arora, like the other unrecognized villages, is among the most socio-economically depressed and underdeveloped areas in the country, its inhabitants cannot exercise their rights under the Law.


In response to the petition, the MOE claimed that there is no legal basis to the petitioners’ demand, stating that it does not provide or fund transportation for children of this age group, because of concerns for the children’s safety during transportation and budgetary shortages. The MOE added that there is insufficient reason to make an exception in the case of an unrecognized village in the Naqab, as buildings in these villages are considered “illegal constructions, and thus the implication of consenting to the petitioners’ demand is lending support to illegal construction, which could damage the efforts being exerted to organize Bedouin settlement.”


Result: In 4/06, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, ruling that it was unable to decide that the relevant authorities had made an extremely unreasonable decision, obliging the Court not to interfere in the matter. The Court ruled that it is not possible for transportation to be provided for the children, relying on the MOE’s contentions. The Court further ruled that buildings which can be used as kindergartens cannot be constructed in al-Za’arora, because “the issue concerns a group of illegal settlements, and no plan exists to enable construction in these villages.” The Supreme Court’s refusal to order the MOE to provide a concrete remedy for the petitioners comes despite its previous acknowledgment, made in the context of Adalah’s second petition on this case, that the lack of transportation for the villagers violates the children’s right to education, given that permits are not issued for buildings in unrecognized villages.


H.C. 100030/05, A’aref Ala’moor v. The Ministry of Education (petition dismissed).