Three small Negev cities face severe unemployment. The towns of Arad, Dimona, and Yeruham are essentially factory towns, dependent on the major industrial chemical companies for most of the employment.
Due to weakening profit margins, these companies (and other companies in the textile and ceramic industries) have been laying off workers and closing factories and plants, a situation that has been going on for years in Israel’s southern region. Whole cities are becoming economically impoverished by these actions.
We have seen many times of promises and incentives being given to Israelis to move to the Negev to live, and for companies to invest in the region, only to see that nearly every time other forces and “priorities” take over that brings confusion and doubt into the viability of the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee to faithfully carry out its mission.
The vision of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, of the Negev’s essential necessity for Israel’s future has seen great strides beyond anyone’s realistic expectations. Yet, the vision of the Biblical Prophets of the God of Israel for Israel’s desert is distinguished from Ben-Gurion’s: they saw YHVH God as a vital participant in the blooming and blossoming of the desert, still waiting for the Chosen People to return to Him, so that He will bring it to pass in righteousness and justice. (Is 35:1-10; 51:1-3)
Here is a link to today’s story of the cities of Dimona, Arad, and Yeruham striking today to protest the companies’ policies, and the government’s: