|• Hebrew||חוּרָה, חוּרָא|
|• Type||Local council|
|• Head of Municipality||Dr. Muhammad Al-Nabari|
|• Total||6,646 dunams (6.646 km2 or 2.566 sq mi)|
Hura, or Houra (Hebrew: חוּרָה, חוּרָא, Arabic: حورة) is a Bedouin village in the South District of Israel. It is located near Beersheba and beside the town Meitar. The village was established in 1989 as a part of solution offered by the state for the Negev Bedouin population, and was declared a local council in 1996.
Hura is one of seven Bedouin townships in the Negev desert with approved plans and developed infrastructure (other six are: Ar'arat an-Naqab (Ar'ara BaNegev), Lakiya, Shaqib al-Salam (Segev Shalom), Kuseife (Kseife), Tel as-Sabi (Tel-Sheva) and the city of Rahat, the largest among them).
Primarily members of two Bedouin family clans reside in Hura: Abu Alkian and Al-Atawneh. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the population of Hura was 17,500 in December 2010 (it was 16,600 at the end of 2009). Hura's jurisdiction is 6,646 dunams.
Prior to the establishment of Israel, the Negev Bedouins were a semi-nomadic society that had been through a process of sedentariness since the Ottoman rule of the region. Most researches agree that Bedouins arrived to the Negev around 1800 AD, but there is evidence of earlier migrations as well.
During the British Mandate period, the administration did not provide a legal frame to justify and preserve lands’ ownership. In order to settle this issue, Israel’s land policy was adapted to a large extent from the Ottoman land regulations of 1858 as the only preceding legal frame. It enabled Israel to nationalize most of the Negev lands using the state’s land regulations from 1969.
Israel has continued the policy of sedentarization of Negev Bedouins imposed by the Ottoman authorities, and at first it included regulation and re-location - during the 1950s Israel has re-located two-thirds of the Negev Bedouins into an area that was under a martial law.
The next step was to establish seven townships built especially for Bedouins in order to sedentarize and urbanize them by offering them better life conditions, proper infrastructure and high quality public services in sanitation, health and education, and municipal services. All the more so the birth rate of the Bedouin population in Israel is among the highest in the world - it doubles its size every 15 years. Not all Bedouins agree to move from tents and structures built on the state lands into apartments prepared for them. In permanent planned villages like Hura lives about 60% of Bedouin citizens of Israel, while the rest - in illegal homes spread all over North Negev.
Process of sedentarization is full of hardships for any nation, since it means a harsh shift from one way of life to another - transition from wandering to permanent residence, and Bedouins whose society is based on tradition are no exception. The rate of unemployment remains high in Bedouin townships, as well as crime level. School through age 16 is mandatory by law, but the vast majority of the population does not receive a high school education. Women are discriminated in the patriarchal-type Bedouin society. There is another serious problem of trespassing on state lands and building unrecognized Bedouin settlements having no municipal status and facing demolition orders.
Yet Israel's attitude towards its Bedouin citizens has always been positive. The state uses all the means at her disposal to improve the life of the Negev Bedouin community, and Hura is considered to be a flagship project in this sense. Unlike illegal villages with scarce access to water, electricity and services, Hura provides the residents with all their basic needs and the State encourages for scattered Bedouin tribes to settle in Hura by giving them land plots with ready built homes at a symbolic cost.
There are 8 schools in the village (December 2009), among them "Amal", "Atid al-Nur" and others. Members of different families study in separate schools due to conflicts between families. Village members have an opportunity for a post-secondary education at an "Ahad" school that gives preparation for academic studies in the university. Girls living in Hura and studying at local schools show excellent results - a very large number of them pass school graduation exams successfully.
There is an operating industrial park in Hura with some 60 industrial plots giving jobs to hundreds village members. It is supposed to be extended in the coming years. This industrial park offers employment and output opportunities to the community members who decide to move to Hura.
In March 2012, Bezeq have launched a women only call center which support it's internet service division, in an effort to reduce unemployment rate of Bedouin women. The initial proposal was made by Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and JDC-Israel.
There are several community projects in Hura. Most of them are grass-roots, but supported by the state. Among them - "Women in Hura" (120 local women prepare meals for the schoolchildren), "Green Hura" (NIS 1.5 million shekels invested in planting of greenery and improving the appearance of the village), "Wadi Atir" (a farm for ecological agriculture and tourism), a textile processing, sewing and clothes production course for Bedouin women, and others.
Other employment opportunities
In March 2012 The Bezeq telecommunications group in cooperation with the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry launched a new call center inside a Hura mosque as a part of an effort to combat female unemployment in the Negev Bedouin community. It provides assistance to Internet customers. The call center is managed and operated by 50 Bedouin women, but is supposed to employ more women in the future.
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- Israeli phone center inside Arab Bedouin Mosque Al Arabiya news, May 5, 2012
- Bezeq launches call center inside Bedouin mosque