SHATIL staff and other social activists handed out bogus “checks” from the Israeli government to Negev education (NIS 400,000,000), health (NIS 400,000,000) and development in the Negev (NIS 17,000,000,000) at the government-initiated Negev Conference, held in the presence of the Prime Minister and other dignitaries last week.
“We distributed the checks like the government distributes promises that have no backing,” said Tzvika Gottlieb, the SHATIL lobby consultant. The move was part of a protest spearheaded by SHATIL in collaboration with other NGOs.
The conference was dominated by business and government interests with little or no representation for immigrants, Bedouin, small business owners, farmers, the disabled, social organizations and others.
A phony "check" handed out at the Negev Conference
SHATIL organized a protest tent and transportation the protest, distribution of the checks to the hundreds of conference participants and a letter signed by 40 NGOs to the Minister for Negev Development, Yaakov Edri.
The letter began: “We, representatives of social and environmental organizations, protest the fact that the government-initiated Negev Conference, called to discuss issues critical to the development of the region, ignores organizations that represent the local population and does not give expression to central groups that live in the south and to the issues that concern them. The conference program does not reflect or represent whatsoever the population mosaic of the Negev nor the issues that concern us and we demand a change.”
The protest as well as the letter was covered in local media and on the radio.