Since March 2023, the student transportation system of the Neve Midbar Regional Council has been sporadically halted due to budget disputes between the Ministry of Education, the council, and the transportation company. During the suspensions, over 20,000 children from recognized and unrecognized villages in the Negev region have been absent from schools.
On November 7, 2023, multiple organizations, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages, the Coexistence Forum in the Negev for Civil Equality, Future in the Desert Association, and Parents' Committees, filed a petition to the Be'er Sheva District Court demanding an immediate renewal of transportation services. The petition argues that the lack of schools within the villages, significant distances between the students' residences and educational institutions, and the absence of accessible and regular public transportation make the transportation system the only means for Bedouin students in the Negev, particularly those from unrecognized villages, to exercise their right to education and equality in education. The suspension of the transportation system, resulting from the ongoing struggle between authorities, causes significant harm to the students. The students had already faced substantial educational disparities compared to other students in the country during the COVID-19 period, and their dropout rate is the highest among the general population. Additionally, they have scarcely attended school since the beginning of the current academic year.
Subject: 14812-11-23 Abu Kareinat vs. Ministry of Education
Attorney: Abir Joubran