Bedouin community goes solar

The Bedouin population in Israel’s South celebrated a historical green victory earlier this month after being granted a license for a photovoltaic installation adjacent to the Tarabin community in the Abu Basma Regional Council. This is the first license that …

The Bedouin population in Israel’s South celebrated a historical green victory earlier this month after being granted a license for a photovoltaic installation adjacent to the Tarabin community in the Abu Basma Regional Council. This is the first license that has been awarded in Israel for a solar project involving the Bedouin community.

Photo by Hannah Schafer
AbedAlhamid Al Said, Sheikh Salman Abu Karinat, Haj Mousa Tarabin, Hassan Al Said,Abrahim Abu Sabich, Jabar Abu Kaf, Atia Al Asam, Yosef Abramowitz, and Ali AbuKaf at Arava Power’s Ketura Sun solar field at Kibbutz Ketura.

The Public Utility Authority gave its okay for a $30 million joint project between the Tarabin tribe and the Arava Power Company to be built on privately-owned Bedouin land.

“It is a dream come true for the Bedouin population as solar energy will provide fixed sources of income and economic benefit to the Bedouin in the Negev. I hope that there will be many more solar projects to come for our community,” said community leader Haj Musa Tarabin.

About one and a half years ago, the Arava Power Company signed a contract with the Tarabin Family to build an eight megawatt solar field on 37 acres.

“A thriving and developed solar industry among the Bedouin communities will grant an economic and social solution for one of Israel’s disadvantaged populations,” explained Jon Cohen, CEO of Arava Power Company. “I hope the government of Israel will view this as a long-term investment that will advance the Bedouin population in the Negev. I am proud that Arava Power is pioneering entrepreneurship that integrates social justice into an economical and green business project.”

In the past year, five contracts have been signed with Bedouin families to build solar projects.

“The heads of all the Bedouin municipalities support the development of a solar industry, which will bring investment, jobs, economic justice and dignity to the Bedouin,” Yosef Abramowitz, President of the Arava Power Company. “Solar power for Bedouins in Israel can be a positive example for all indigenous peoples around the world, from Native Americans, to First Nations, Aboriginals and others with historic land claims.”

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.