FNF Jerusalem's Annual Weekend Seminar to Rahat

The Bedouin society of Israel, the challenge of social and economic integration and examples of entrepreneurship
Feature23.12.2019Anne Cohen-Koehler

FNF Jerusalem conducted the annual weekend study seminar for the members of its ME 2.0 Palestinian-Israeli Young Business Leaders Forum. The bilateral Forum provided a platform for young entrepreneurs, professionals and business people from both sides of the green line to professionally network, learn about each other’s economy and new business and innovation trends, meet key people from the business and political arena and explore opportunities for economic cooperation and the existing hurdles to the latter.

Next to the forum’s bimonthly meetings, the members convene once in a year for a more intensive weekend seminar, during which they learn about a specific economic topic of their interest and engage in discussions about the next steps of the forum. The weekend activity also allows the members more time for personal encounter and exchange.

The program included the visit of the new industrial zone Idan HaNegev, which is a joint venture between the southern districts of Rahat, Lehavim and Bnei Shimon and hosts more than 30 factories that provide employment for thousands of residents – Jews and Arabs. 

Most impressing for the forum members were the female entrepreneurs, who seem to be a rising power and real change makers in the Bedouin society. While mainly keeping their traditional way of conduct, they still have found their ways of becoming a meaningful and striving economic force with businesses in the sectors of tourism, traditional cuisine, traditional herb cosmetics, wedding beauty business and much more. 

The forum members gained many new insights into the upcoming entrepreneurship scene of the Bedouin society, expanded their network, and discussed solutions for challenges to employment and entrepreneurship in the Bedouin society and offered their expertise and networks. 

The two days study seminar also left room for in-group work discussing challenges the ME 2.0 Palestinian Israeli Young Business Leaders Forum is facing, like local and regional outreach, branding, and strategic collaborations.