A Comprehensive Evaluation of Government Resolution 2397: The Plan for Socio-Economic Development of the Bedouin Population in the Negev for the Years 2017-2021


The five-year plan for the Bedouin population in the Negev for the years 2017-2021 (government resolution 2397) is the second consecutive long-term governmental plan for this population group, which is situated at the bottom of the socio-economic scale in the State of Israel. The plan seeks to reduce gaps between the Negev Bedouin and the general population and to expand their inclusion in Israel’s society and its economy. As part of the plan, three billion shekels (approximately 810 million dollars) were allocated to programs in various aspect of life: education (formal, informal and higher education), employment, infrastructure development, the empowerment of local municipalities, and the development and improvement of services in the areas of welfare, community and health. The Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute (MJB) provided ongoing input regarding the five-year plan through an extensive research program. That research program included 16 studies and it was conducted over several years by numerous researchers from MJB and additional research organizations.

Study Goals

This study set out to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the five-year plan: to examine the benefits of the plan to the Negev Bedouin population by drawing on an extensive range of perspectives and relying on appropriate research methods. In particular, the study aim was to shed light on how the plan was developed and tailored; to identify international best practices in reducing inequalities and strengthening community resilience, primarily regarding disempowered minorities; to examine the extent to which the plan achieved its core goals; to aid decision makers in improving future plans; and to provide the public with a reliable portrayal of the plan’s development and implementation.


The five-year plan is a complex policy, meaning it is characterized by multiple, interweaving components, which interact in a way that affects the actualization of policy goals. Thus, the methodology chosen for the comprehensive evaluation was an intervention path contribution analysis.

This methodology included several steps. First, based on the government resolution and the set of work plans developed to guide implementation of the resolution, a theoretical model was put forward, which included two core goals and six intervention paths of influence (specified in the next section). For each path, a focused literature review was carried out to identify evidence regarding the relevance of the path to the core goals and to identify best practices and mechanisms through which the path could be realized. In addition, all programs included in the five-year plan were analyzed in terms of purpose and content and then mapped to each of the six paths, creating six distinct inventories of activities.

Following this, in order to provide an in-depth understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and barriers to the implementation of the five-year plan in general and of each path in particular, a wide range of consultations were conducted. Key stakeholders in government ministries, local authorities, civil society and academia, as well as researchers at MJB with an expertise in the relevant topics were consulted through discussion forums and individual follow-up interviews. Members of the Department for Socio-economic Development of the Bedouin Society in the Negev also took part in the consultation process. Finally, the numerous studies conducted as part of the research program evaluating the five-year plan were used to anchor the contribution stories developed for each one of the six paths.

The comprehensive evaluation research report is based on the combination of the sources of data and knowledge and the methods described above. An academic advisory committee, which included experts from Israel and abroad, provided ongoing support throughout the study.

Overview of Findings

Two core goals of the five-year plan were identified: (1) reducing inequalities between the Negev Bedouin population and other population groups in Israel; (2) strengthening the resilience of the Bedouin local authorities in the Negev. Following on from this, six paths of influence were identified through which the plan was intended to achieve its core goals: (1) improving socio-economic status; (2) enhancing inclusion within Israel society and integration into it; (3) strengthening Bedouin local authorities; (4) improving the accessibility of social and governmental services; (5) improving local infrastructure; and (6) using multi-year, inter-sectoral governmental programs to tackle inequality.

The report provides an in-depth examination of the six paths of influence, including the following components: the goodness-of-fit of the five-year plan to best practices in the relevant field; an inventory of the contents of each path in terms of relevant activities and programs which were included in the five-year plan; a contribution story which discusses the extent and quality of path implementation, challenges and barriers to achieving the aims of the path, and its actual contribution to the plan’s core goals; and recommendations for future actions. The main findings about the paths and the researchers’ assessments regarding actualization of their potential contributions are presented in a concise summary table. Finally, the report puts forward integrative findings from the comprehensive evaluation as well as from the entire research program.

Key Recommendations

Based on the multitude of studies conducted as part of the research program on the five-year plan for the socio-economic development of the Bedouin population in the Negev for the years 2017-2021, including the comprehensive evaluation, several key recommendations for future government actions are put forward. These specific recommendations are highlighted because they carry the greatest potential for meaningful contribution to the target population.

Operating the five-year plan on a local level: For each local authority, the Department for Socio-economic Development of the Bedouin Society in the Negev should ensure that an inter-ministerial perspective guides the planning and implementation of all the local activities across the various domains (such as education, employment, infrastructure, and accessibility of services).

Action items in the domain of education: Invest in the coordination and integration of activities currently under the responsibility of different actors; adapt services to the population at the levels of the government ministry, the locality, the school, the family and the individual; ensure continuity of care for students from preschool through to the end of high school, and cultivate connections with families and communities; set up and operate a measurement system for assessing the quality of teaching.

Action items in the domain of employment: Institutionalize an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism to advance service integration; promote cultural adaptation of employment interventions and policy tools; provide high school students with a basic understanding of the job market and of the importance of higher education; promote gap year programs, programs that contribute to successful integration in academia and programs that incorporate technological training.

Continued promotion of the local authorities model (first introduced as part of the five-year plan for the years 2017-2021): Strive to expand the number of well-trained professionals working for local authorities; promote public participation processes; schedule periodic meetings of representatives from local authorities with high-ranking government officials; improve the efficiency of local authorities by tailoring the five-year plan to each authority; create an infrastructure for ongoing gathering and analysis of municipality-level data.

Providing local responses to land ownership claims and disputes in the Negev: Establish a task force to appropriately deal with these issues in order to remove barriers to the development of infrastructure and services and to the improvement of the lived environment.

Consolidation of a comprehensive plan for the promotion of social integration and service accessibility, including the following components: map the opportunities and barriers; incorporate best practices regarding inclusion and integration into the plan; develop services in accordance with the various dimensions of accessibility; develop a long-term action plan, which identifies the actors responsible for its implementation; gather relevant data and indicators and use them to conduct an evaluation study; set up a committee of experts and stakeholders to provide oversight.

Reducing data gaps: Launch a systematic process to identify existing gaps in government data regarding the Negev Bedouin population; set up a professional forum that will be accountable for promoting ongoing progress on this issue, with the aim of bridging the data gaps.

Improving governmental work plans: Prepare an instruction manual for government ministries on how to formulate effective work plans; provide ongoing guidance to the ministries; regularly monitor and provide feedback to the ministries regarding the quality of the work plans; set up a digitized system for designing and monitoring work plans.

Setting up a research program as an integral part of any five-year plan: Focus on specific domains of knowledge and types of interventions that make up the plan as well as on general issues concerning the plan as a whole; select research topics judiciously; rely on findings of the research program in planning the next five-year plan; include a comprehensive evaluation of the plan’s contribution.

The five-year plan as a framework for governmental ministries: Provide a support system for the planning and implementation of the plan across numerous ministries, particularly with regard to broad issues of concern such as social inclusion, service accessibility, and improvement of work plans.

Citing suggestion: Litmanovitz, Y., Haran, D., Loeff, Y., Or Sharvit, Z., &  Majadlih, A. (2023). A Comprehensive Evaluation of Government Resolution 2397: The Plan for Socio-Economic Development of the Bedouin Population in the Negev for the Years 2017-2021. RR-964-23. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)