Friday, October 9, 2009

Good News

To be fair, the pages of this blog see a lot of criticism of Israeli policy. So to end the week off on a high note is this article from today's JPost about the efforts of the Israeli police to work with the Negev Bedouin. These efforts are a very positive step for both the police and the Bedouin community. Recruiting Bedouin to the police force puts a local face on authority which means that enforcement of Israeli law will be vastly easier. Also, a police force that has cultural knowledge of the population is much more likely to be able to identify the root causes of illegal activity in the Bedouin community.

For the Bedouin, having a police force that better understands the local population will improve access to the establishment which means that it will be easier to obtain necessary resources for the community. The creation of after-school programs by the police is also a fantastic opportunity to increase Bedouin education, which in the long term is a crucial step to moving the community towards greater integration into the Israeli population.

Finally, as an earlier post this week mentioned, the Israeli-Arab population will be a necessary ally for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many of the Bedouin who will be affected by these programs have relatives in Egypt, Gaza, and the West Bank. This means a higher opinion of Israel in the Bedouin community, and better intelligence for Israel.

It is truly refreshing to see that despite riots on the Temple Mount, peace process woes, and high tensions, the Israeli police can work pragmatically to create a win-win situation for themselves as the Israeli establishment, and the Negev Bedouin as a minority rights-deprived population. Hopefully the initiative will receive the necessary funding and can become a model for programs elsewhere in Israel.

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