Israel has yet to build school bus stops for Bedouin kids despite promise to court

Be'er Sheva court hears update on Adalah petition calling on Israeli authorities to build school bus stops in Bedouin villages in Naqab (Negev) desert.

The Be’er Sheva District Court convened earlier this month to hear a petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel calling on the Neve Midbar and Al-Qasoum Regional Councils and the Education Ministry to build school bus stops for schoolchildren living in Bedouin villages in the country’s southern Naqab (Negev) desert region.


Adalah filed the petition on behalf of parents of schoolchildren from the unrecognized villages of Al-Zarnouq and Wadi al-Na’am, and the recognized but not fully-planned villages of Abu Tlul, Abu Qrinat, Umm Batin, and Kuhleh.


Adalah also demanded, in its petition filed in January 2017, that the state remedy associated safety hazards such as missing guard rails, road signs, and marked crosswalks.


Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stated during the hearing that construction of the stops is progressing at a slow pace, adding, “I hope that the court will order the respondents to move faster.”


Representatives of the regional councils and the Education Ministry claimed there was consensus regarding the importance of the construction program and that they were pushing it forward. The Education Ministry representative noted that meetings had been held with the relevant bodies to examine costs associated with construction of the stops, and said the ministry would update the court within a month with details.


Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Yael Raz-Levy stated during the hearing: “This is an important petition. Schools have been built but bus stops have not, which, according to the petition, endangers the students in these villages… There is room for the regional councils and the state to accelerate their examination of the issue.”


Judge Raz-Levy ruled the state must provide a detailed update to the court within 30 days. An additional hearing was scheduled for 15 April 2018.