The Bedouin of the Israeli Negev

The Negev desert is home to about 110,000 Bedouins. In central-Israel specifically, approximately 10,000 Bedouins live in settlements. Presumably unlike many other destinations picked in class, the Israeli Negev is home to countless Bedouin communities. The image below shows where exactly in Israel’s Negev Desert the Bedouins inhabit.

Marx, Emanuel. Bedouin of the Negev. Manchester University Press, 1967.

Being a nomadic tribe, Bedouins are not sedentary and thus do not establish officially named communities. Some of the more-westernized tribes have, however, setup certifiable communities for tourism purposes, including Kfar Hanokdim, a notable center for “authentic Bedouin Hospitality” experiences. The following image shows Kfar Hanokdim and how westernized the Bedouin experience has become in this particular camp.

“Negev Desert (Negev Israel) – Kfar Hanokdim.” כפר הנוקדים,

The Negev Bedouin have been in a constant state of movement for several generations. Although it is their historical nature to wander, as they were traditionally nomadic herders and farmers, over the past few generations, they have been driven out by war and politics. The Negev is important to the Bedouin people because of several reasons, most notably its religious significance and its resources, not to mention the fact that it is where the Bedouin have settled for thousands of years. Tourism has impacted the Bedouins of Israel’s Negev in a variety of ways. There has been significant investments into infrastructure to get the tourists to the settlements as well as in the camps themselves. They have expanded considerably and even added better sleeping accommodations and daytime activities/attractions for their guests. The inflow of tourists compromises their identity as a nomadic peopleand hurts the environment around them. It also makes their settlement permanent, which opposes the very fabric of who they are.



Shoup, John. “The impact of tourism on the Bedouin of Petra.” The Middle East Journal (1985): 277-291.

Meir, Avinoam. As nomadism ends: the Israeli Bedouin of the Negev. Westview Press, Inc., 1997.

“The Bedouin in Israel: Demography”. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1 July 1999.

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