In addition to our youth work we also work to bring adult residents of the Negev together.
The Bedouin community of Rahat and B’nei Shimon Regional Council exist in the same region. The city of Rahat is surrounded: Beit Kama, Shoval, Mishmar HaNegev, and the community settlement Givaot Bar. Shared living space can be ground for cooperation between members of all regional communities.
The two municipalities already collaborate within the framework of transforming the Negev into a few industrial area, Idan HaNegev. There have been strides in collaboration between officials, but there is still work to be done, as there is still tensions between the two communities, making full collaboration impossible. A New Dawn and Community Stage at Kibbutz Kramim both understand the importance of joint operations in order to facilitate regional promotion as a whole. Promoting initiatives and joint projects between Jews and Bedouins in the Negev is the key to fulfilling Ben Gurion’s dream of “making the desert bloom.”
The organization Community Stage at Kibbutz Kramim, in collaboration with New Dawn of the Negev founded the joint civil forum B’nei Shimon in 2015. This forum comprises of municipality officials and community members from both the Kibbutz and Rahat. This forum has met five times during 2015, including days of political and civil unrest between the two groups. The forum members are committed and passionate about a better future for both groups in the Negev region as a whole. The group is led by both Jews and Arabs provided by the Merchavim Organization. Each member understands the importance of the forum and the necessity that the dialogue continues into 2016, with the aim to enhance the relationships formed and dialogue spoken. While 2015 was focused on dialogue, the goal of 2016 is to take the forum into the greater community through joint projects and programs. Connecting this forum to the Montreal Jewish Community Forum will expand the circle of awareness and the sphere of influence outside of outside of the Negev community.
The forum currently has 40 participants who are in regular attendance. In both Jewish and Bedouin groups, the forum has an equal amount of participants.