Young Bedouin Shepherd photo by Ed Brambley, courtesy Creative Commons.

The Bedouins of Israel are traditionally pastoral, nomadic, desert-dwelling Muslim Arabs; they make up about 2 percent of the Israeli population. While there are small Bedouin communities in the Galilee and the center of the country, the vast majority of Bedouins live in the Negev Desert.

Bedouins make up about 2 percent of the Israeli population

Their nomadic lifestyle is rapidly giving way to settled living, an inevitable process of modernization that is complicated by intractable issues of land rights, which successive Israeli governments have yet to resolve. While the Negev Bedouins are Israel’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged community, the number of Bedouin academics, businessmen, and activities is growing remarkably, with Bedouin women featured at the forefront of this important societal development.