The Bedouin Communities

Recognizing the importance of the way of life in the desert, the traditions and customs of these communities, Keshet Association operates in various manners to aid these communities in the preservation of their culture, and to prevent its dilution, assimilation, and disappearance.

Since the early 1970s, due to the limitations imposed by The Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the repurposing of large swats of land for military training by the Israel Defense Forces and the availability of water sources, these communities settled at several locations along Road 40, between the Ben-Gurion College and Mitzpe Ramon.

Most of these settlements, however, are not recognized by the State of Israel, and, while reluctantly tolerated, are defined as illegal by the rule of law. It should be noted that this phenomenon is rampant throughout the Negev desert. In total, some 150,000 Bedouins live in unrecognized settlements throughout the Negev at large.

The Bedouins’ traditional way of life is inexorably tied to their immediate, unique natural environment.

While their current living conditions have become more sedentary, the collective knowledge and legacy of their traditions and way of life are preserved. This is expressed by their expertise in raising livestock, the preservation of traditional handcrafts and artforms, an intimate knowledge of the local flora, in particular of the herbs and medicinal plants that are found in the vicinity. Also, throughout their history and presence in the region, they have demonstrated their keen understanding of what we now call the local “micro-climate,” i.e., the quality and potential of the soil and its water economy. This collective knowledge and experience place these Bedouin communities at the center of any efforts to this environment, while at the same preserving and sustaining it.

Historically, the Bedouins’ way of life, traditions, and knowledge are rooted in the ancient semi-nomadic communities that have roamed and inhabited these areas for many centuries. As such, rooted as they are in the region, they are an important resource for the development of local tourism.

What is going on right now?

These are the projects that are currently active among the Bedouin communities of the Negev Highlands

Music In Common

Music in Common is a multi-ethnic musical initiative whose goal is to encourage social meetings between Jewish and Bedouin teenagers

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What have we accomplished?

A partial list of projects and activities that have taken place among the Bedouin communities of the Negev Highlands, over 20 years of activity

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