Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman urged the government Saturday to "ask for the forgiveness of Israel's Arabs" ahead of Yom Kippur.
"The State of Israel needs to considerably ameliorate its attitude to the Arab population in general, and the Bedouin community in particular," the minister said at a meeting of Bedouin local council heads in the south.
Before the session, Minister Braverman toured several Bedouin communities in the Negev desert and heard the problems faced by local residents. In one case, residents complained that despite living in a community officially recognized by Israel, they do not have access to water, sewage, and electricity infrastructure.
"We must make progress this year in respect to addressing the Bedouin population," Braverman said. "If we want law and order, we also need to do something…they suffer from unemployment, educational problems, and a lack of water and electricity."
'Learn from Jewish mistakes'The minister also vowed to do everything in his power to prompt the Israeli government to take action in order to resolve the current problems.
Addressing one of the burning issues in the south, the question of land ownership, Braverman said that "the time has come for a land deal. This is a major issue that hinders many other things."
Turning his attention to the Bedouin, the minister said: "The weakness of the Bedouin leadership and the fact that the Sheikhs' power has declined also undermines the implementation of solutions on the ground. Learn from the mistakes of the Jews: Cooperate in order to succeed."