Elections Committee refuses to provide public transportation on Election Day to Bedouin voters in unrecognized villages

The Committee visited unrecognized villages with Adalah and RCUV, but the Judge's response did not discuss the merits of the case and gave incorrect, unofficial and unproven information.

The District Elections Committee has refused Adalah's request to provide public transportation for Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel living in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev) to the elections locations to allow them to vote in the upcoming Israeli election on 17 March 2015. Judge Eliyahu Beitan, head of the District Elections Committee explained his decision in a letter to Adalah on 11 March 2015 stating that, "providing transportation to election locations requires building a large built system, and it also requires resources and preparations that the elections committee cannot commit to, while such a system does not really have serious benefits."


The District Elections Committee visited some unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages to look into the transportation system, accompanied by Adalah and the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Naqab. Despite the visit, Judge Beitan, in his response, did not discuss the merits of the case, as witnessed by the Committee during the visit. However, Judge Beitan gave incorrect, unofficial and unproven information. For example, Judge Beitan wrote, "based on information that I received, there are traditional constraints on joint traveling between men and women from different families in the same buses. According to accepted practices by the Bedouin community, we cannot expect them to make serious use of the transport to elections locations."


Judge Beitan’s letter was sent in response to a letter sent by Adalah on 22 January 2015 to the Central Elections Committee, requesting that public transportation be provided for Arab Bedouin residents of the Naqab in order to allow them to vote in the upcoming Israeli general election. In the letter, Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh argued that 35,000 citizens of the state live in 13 unrecognized villages located 10–40 kilometers away from election locations, which makes it extremely difficult for them to exercise their right to vote.


Read op-ed in +972 Magazine by Adalah’s Khalil Alamour and Amjad Iraqi, “How many cars does it take for a Bedouin village to vote?”, 13 March 2015