Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ra’am Chairman MK Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, November 4, 2021.

In a recording that was published Thursday morning by Reshet Bet radio, Yair Maayan, Head of the Bedouin Development Authority in the Negev, described the enormous influence Ra’am Chairman MK Mansour Abbas wielded over the Lapid-Bennett government, even when it came to treating veteran IDF Bedouin soldiers.

In the recording, Maayan describes a 2021 tender for 400 housing units in Complex 6 in the Bedouin city of Rahat, in the Negev complex, which initially dedicated a third of the units to Bedouin IDF veterans. But following an appeal by the Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban to MK Abbas, the latter contacted the office of then Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as well as Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, and the benefit for Bedouin who had served in the IDF was deleted.


Maayan is heard saying: “The Mayor of Rahat wrote on Facebook that after his efforts, and an appeal to MK Mansour Abbas, there would be no priority for soldiers in Rahat.” The mayor boasted: Instead of 30%, we lowered it to 10%.”

The Prime Minister’s Office responded: “It’s a lie. The Prime Minister did not deal with this issue at all, nor was there any conversation between him and MK Mansour Abbas or Yair Maayan on the issue in discussion.”

Perhaps someone should ask Naftali Bennett.

Mayor Abu Sahiban responded: “Yair Maayan is a liar. I asked that land would also be given to Rahat Bedouin who are over 40 years old.”

Yair Ma’ayan responded to the above denials: “I am proud of my firm stand by my brothers in arms, the Bedouin warriors, and maintaining their rights as initially approved by the government.”

The Israel Lands Administration claimed it made sure to add more land to the construction complex and this way return the benefits to the soldiers.


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