07/25/2010 07:48

“All of the kibbutzim and moshavim have already bought up the existing quotas.”

Rahat Mayor Sheikh Faiz Abu Seheban called a press conference on Thursday to publicize a letter he had sent on behalf of the Beduin community to Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman (Labor).

“I sent a letter asking for a special quota of solar energy specifically for Beduin,” the mayor told The Jerusalem Post by phone.

“All of the kibbutzim and moshavim have already bought up the existing quotas.

So I asked Braverman to work towards reserving a quota just for the Beduin community,” he said.

“Entering the solar energy market would create jobs for Beduin residents and save on electricity. The Beduin are the poorest community in Israel,” he added. The Beduin would lease their land to private solar developers and work at the solar fields.

Seheban said he hoped for a positive response from Braverman who he said had a good grasp of what went on in the Negev. Braverman is the former president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Seheban said they were turning to private companies as well to encourage investment.

Two Beduin families recently signed land deals to build solar fields with the Arava Power Company, becoming the first such families to do so with any Israeli solar company.

The government has announced a goal of 10 percent of electricity to be produced from renewable sources by 2020. To reach that goal, the government has allocated quotas for small and medium sized solar fields and guaranteed to buy the electricity that is produced for the next 20 years.