The Agriculture Ministry has decided to offer special grants to Bedouin sheep herders who tend their flocks in open areas in the Negev, assist in their preservation and help prevent brushfires, Ynet has learned.
So far, 140 herders have applied for the grants, which range from a few hundreds to several thousand shekels per herd, depending on their size.
The ministry has allotted NIS 500,000 (approx. $133,000) for the grants, which is part of a larger budget dedicated to encouraging open-space grazing for livestock in Israel.
The ministry is pursuing several avenues to encourage open-space grazing, which helps mostly in preventing fires. The ministry has also joined forces with the Jewish National Fund
for the venture. The JNF will allocate new grazing grounds, while the ministry will sponsor a new Bedouin
herders union as well as create a new slot for them in the Israel Farmers Federation.
The latter is meant to support the growth and development of various Bedouin farming ventures.
"The ministry aims to promote the representation of Bedouin herders in the IFF, as well as regulate the field," Yoav Morag, head of the southern region for the Agriculture Ministry told Ynet.
The future Bedouin herders union, he added, will be the first of its kind for the sector.