UK Task Force visits the Negev
March 5, 2012
Pears Foundation, which co-founded the UK Task Force on issues facing Arab citizens of Israel, has participated in a delegation of over fifty representatives from the Jewish community in the UK, to tour southern Israel as part of the second UK Task Force study trip.
Having explored issues relating to the Arab communities of the Galilee in 2011, the second annual study trip focused on the Bedouin living in the Negev and the social, cultural, economic and political barriers to their full integration.
The group toured both recognised and unrecognised villages, visited civil society projects, and spoke with a range of interlocutors, from government ministers to local Bedouin representatives and leaders of civil society, to learn more about the current situation and steps being taken to promote equal opportunities, inclusion and social cohesion.
The main objectives of the Task Force trips are:
- To provide participants with an active on-the-ground learning experience and introduce them to some of the key issues relating to Bedouin communities in the Negev.
- To introduce participants to a range of Israeli political figures, civil society representatives and academics working to reduce inequality and improve Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.
- To inspire participants to work with each other and with Israeli partners to continue to increase engagement with these issues on their return.
The four-day itinerary through Aby Basma, Be’er Sheva, Rahat, Hura, Lakiya, Jerusalem and a number of unrecognized villages, allowed the group to explore themes including land ownership, public resource allocation, Jewish-Arab relations, Bedouin empowerment, as well as giving them the opportunity to look at the future for the region, with respect to politics, religion and British engagement.
Led by Co-Chairs of the Task Force, Douglas Krikler and Trevor Pears, participants included senior figures in British Jewry, including religious, political and youth leaders, as well as charitable foundations.
Trevor Pears, Executive Chair of Pears Foundation and Co-chair of UK Task Force, said: “The breadth of participation on the UK Task Force 2012 study trip shows the importance the British Jewish community ascribes and the effort we are prepared to commit together to understanding what is unquestionably one of the most significant and complex challenges facing Israeli society today.”
Charles Keidan, Director, Pears Foundation, also attended and said: “The UK Task Force trip broke new ground in engaging the people and institutions of British Jewry with issues facing Israel’s Arab citizens. It is imperative that British Jews continue to deepen their understanding of these issues and take constructive action.”
UK Task Force website