Defending Water Rights for Bedouin Citizens

3 June 2020

After a petition by NIF grantee Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Beer Sheva Court for Administrative Affairs has ordered the Ministry of Education to connect water up to a school in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Tel Arad following).

ACRI filed the petition against the Ministry of Education and Al Kasum Regional Council on behalf of the parents of 600 children in kindergarten and first through ninth grade at the Tel Arad school. When schools reopened in Israel last month after the COVID-19 crisis, the children of Tel Arad had to stay at home after the water was cut off following a financial dispute between the different authorities involved in running the school. ACRI’s petition stressed that the right to water is a basic right.

Chairman of the Tel Arad school’s parents committee, Ali Alenbari told the Walla! news website, “My daughter who is in third grade was really looking forward to going back to school and meeting her friends after the lockdown. But I had to tell her that she wasn’t going back because there was no water.”

Al Kasum Regional Council Head Salame Al Atrash said, “We have always wanted to connect the school to water but the Mekorot Water Company would not allow us because they insisted that the school is outside our jurisdiction.”

The Ministry of Education insists that it is not responsible for water supply in schools, but will do so as quickly as possible because of the importance of the matter.