Extreme-right Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir came under attack on Monday for comments the previous day in which he called for an improvement in living standards for Arab-Bedouin, which would include dealing with polygamy and reducing birth rates. A protest is to be held at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Congress Center in the BIG shopping center in Beersheba, to discuss the racist and extremist comments of Minister Shamir.
“We need to take the Bedouin and start to take them out of the desert a bit and get them closer to the normal state in terms of legislation, lifespan, social-economic standards and education,” Shamir said while on a tour in the Negev. Shamir said he wanted to focus on economic solutions before dealing with the issue of unrecognized villages and land claims. Shamir took over responsibility from former minister Benny Begin in January for handling the Arab-Bedouin land issue for the government after the failing of the Prawer Plan.
Hadash MK Dov Khenin responded to Shamir, saying that polygamy is a problem for women and children, but to counter it the state needs to “begin to treat the Arab-Bedouin as citizens and not as a demographic threat.”