The Bedouin population is the minority of the Arab minority in Israel today and their history, culture and issues they’re facing today are largely unknown to many Americans. Traditionally, Bedouin people have lived a pastoral semi nomadic lifestyle in the Negev divided into clans or tribes. Although Bedouins are seen as the purest representatives of Arab culture, they live by their own distinct culture, honor code and code of laws. Bedouins have recorded their history and passed on their traditions through oral poetic sharing because illiteracy was the norm for this population. The Bedouin society has survived in large part because of the extensive network built on kinship.
Today in Israel the administration is planning a widespread relocation of the Bedouin people into government planned townships. The Israeli government believes his move will address the Bedouin issue of extreme poverty. According to pending legislation the 35 Bedouin communities in the Negev unrecognized by the Israeli government will be evacuated and all inhabitants compensated to move to the planned townships.
However, many Bedouin people see his move as a forced push from their lands. The Bedouin identity is tied to the desert that generations have traveled and survived in. The Bedouin population has thrived on farming and raising pastoral animals such as sheep. The issue remains in the allocation of land. As grazing land has diminished so has the source of income for many Bedouin people.
From an outside perspective it seems the Israeli government has perpetuated the situation of the Bedouin population by refusing to recognize 35 of their 46 communities and therefore denying tens of thousands rights to an education, healthcare, running water and electricity. Instead of giving these people the dignity of paving their own future, the Israeli government has taken the liberty of building “planned townships” and leaving the Bedouin people without the ability to make the choice of where they will live their lives. It is difficult to determine the true intentions and motivations of such decisions, I’m sure it is a mixed variety, but I think the question to focus on is will this move benefit a suffering population? Will the Bedouin people receive opportunities not available to them before? The Bedouin culture has already undergone dramatic changes with the establishment of Israel and the rapid progression of globalization. As Israel pushes to modernize this population through urbanization, question whether this transition will be successful. The cultural and historical identities of the Bedouin people should be involved in the solution.Read more "Bedouin People; Minority of a Minority"