Traditionally nomadic Arab tribes for the most part originating in the Hejaz district of modern Saudi Arabia who traversed transnational boundaries. Communities today are found in Israel and the West Bank, along with Egypt (almost exclusively in the Sinai Peninsula) and in Jordan's Arava Desert. In Israel, the Bedouin community of approximately 180,000 is divided into three geographic groupings. The vast majority—some 120,000—reside in the Negev Desert of southern Israel. Another 10,000 live in Israel's central region. And 50,000 Bedouin reside in the north. Since statehood, Israel's Bedouin population has increased tenfold due to a naturally high birthrate—about 5 percent—resulting from the Bedouin culture's traditional emphasis on large family size, combined with a significant drop in infant mortality and increased life expectancy resulting from access to modern health and medical services.
   The Bedouin have tended to rely on two sources of advancement in Israeli society: education and voluntary service in the Israel Defense Forces. Education has been a key element in the improvement in the Bedouin's standard of living. The illiteracy rate among the Bedouin has dropped from 95 percent at the time of Israel's founding in 1948 to below 25 percent in 2005, despite the Bedouin culture's strong disinclination toward education for females. In 2006, Rania al-Oqbi became the first female Bedouin physician to graduate from an Israeli university (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev). Also in 2006, Ismail Khaldi, a former shepherd, became the first Bedouin to be appointed an Israeli envoy, becoming consul to San Francisco. The other principal avenue for social advancement for the Bedouin has been volunteer service in the IDF. Each year, between 5 and 10 percent of the Bedouin population of draft age volunteer for the Israeli army (unlike Druze and Circassian Israelis, they are not required by law to do so). Many Bedouin soldiers today serve with distinction in frontline fighting units alongside their Jewish counterparts and receive the financial and social benefits for doing so. Several Bedouin soldiers have been killed in battle and in terrorist attacks. Many Bedouin played an important part as volunteer trackers for the Hagana in the War of Independence (1948—49) and in special units established in the 1950s to stop fedayeen incursions from Jordan.
   Despite an objective improvement in their standard of living, the status of the Bedouin in Israel remains problematic. Many Bedouin remain tied to a traditional way of life that is completely at variance with the realities of industrialized, 21st-century Israel. A particular area of dispute is the issue of land ownership, especially in the Negev Desert, where some Bedouin tribes insist on constructing semipermanent structures on their nomadic routes in the same manner as their people have done for generations, irrespective of modern Israeli laws and regulations pertaining to deeds, building permits, and the like. While numerous efforts have been made to find compromise solutions to such disputes, the danger of violent expressions of civil unrest involving more restive elements of the Negev Bedouin population has increased in recent years.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .


Look at other dictionaries:

  • bédouin — bédouin, ine [ bedwɛ̃, in ] n. et adj. • fin XIIe; ar. badawi « habitant du désert » ♦ Arabe nomade du désert. Caravane de Bédouins. Adj. Tentes bédouines. ● bédouin, bédouine adjectif et nom (arabe badawī, habitant du désert) Se dit des Arabes… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Bedouin — [bed′o͞o in΄] n. pl. Bedouins or Bedouin [Fr bédouin < Ar badāwīn, pl. of badawī, desert dweller < badw, desert] [also b ] 1. an Arab of any of the nomadic desert peoples of Arabia, Syria, or N Africa 2. any wanderer or nomad adj. of the… …   English World dictionary

  • Bedouin — (n.) c.1400, from O.Fr. bedüin (Mod.Fr. bédouin), from colloquial Arabic badawin desert dwellers, pl. of badawi, from badw desert, camp. The Arabic plural suffix was mistaken for part of the word. A word from the Crusades, it probably was lost in …   Etymology dictionary

  • Bedouin — Bed ou*in, n. [F. b[ e]douin, OF. b[ e]duin, fr. Ar. bedaw[=i] rural, living in the desert, fr. badw desert, fr. bad[=a] to live in the desert, to lead a nomadic life.] One of the nomadic Arabs who live in tents, and are scattered over Arabia,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bedouin — Bed ou*in, a. Pertaining to the Bedouins; nomad. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bedouin — (Bedoin, spr. Beduäng, Bedoäng), Stadt an der Mede, im Bezirk Carpentras des französischen Departements Vaucluse; Töpferei, Seidenspinnerei; in der Nähe findet sich Glashüttensand; 2300 Ew …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bédouin — Le nom peut aussi s écrire Bédoin, Bédoint, Bédouain, Béduin. On le rencontre d une part en Provence, parfois aussi dans l Allier, ainsi que dans divers départements de l Ouest (49, 50, 61, 72 notamment). En Provence, il désigne le plus souvent… …   Noms de famille

  • Bedouin — (also Beduin) ► NOUN (pl. same) ▪ a nomadic Arab of the desert. ORIGIN Old French, from an Arabic word meaning dwellers in the desert …   English terms dictionary

  • Bedouin — Ethnic group| image caption=A Bedouin man in Dubai. group=Bedouin poptime=11 million region1 = flagcountry|Israel pop1 = ? region2 = flagicon|AU Africa pop2 = ? region3 = flagicon|Arab League Middle East pop3 = ? langs= Arabic dialects • Bedawi • …   Wikipedia

  • Bedouin — Bedouinism, n. /bed ooh in, bed win/, n., pl. Bedouins, (esp. collectively) Bedouin, adj. n. 1. an Arab of the desert, in Asia or Africa; nomadic Arab. 2. a nomad; wanderer. adj. 3. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Bedouin. Also,… …   Universalium