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History and Background

The Bedouin population in the center of Israel originates from the area called Tel-Meleh in Alnagab, which was transformed into a military base, today called “Nevatim”. The Bedouin population was wronged as a result of the peace process between Israel and Egypt which took place in the late 70’s. The state of Israel chose the land in these areas to erect military bases previously placed in Sinai in Egypt.

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After the decision was made to confiscate the land, the state of Israel founded an administrative body whose role was to negotiate with the Bedouins of Tel-Melh and improve the situation of the Bedouins whose lands were confiscated or who soled their lands to the state. The managing body only made the situation worse for the Bedouins. As if it was not enough that they confiscated the land, it offered very meager compensation in return with no social support or social services.

 

The Bedouin community waged an unprecedented legal battle in order to obtain their most basic rights after such an evacuation – adequate compensation as well as righting the wrong done to the offended families whose lands were confiscated. Sadly, they lost in all legal instances and all our judicial attempts were blocked by the assertion that their lands were a “military zone necessary for the defense of all of the citizens of the State”. Even the supposedly objective legal system caused much misery to the Bedouins, thus affected their education, development and more.

 

The earlier generation decided to receive meager compensation and with little funds and few choices, decided in the early 80’s to immigrate to the area of Kalansuwah City, in  the Triangle area in the center of Israel, some 12 Km north-east of Kfar Saba. There they received fair treatment and an understanding of their plight from good people who agreed to offer them housing for three years for no pay. Parents, along with sons, went out to do hard manual labor in order to earn money and buy land. After a certain period, the landlords requested their lands back. The Bedouins then found a few acres in Taibeh and immigrated there towards the end of 1984. On arrival in Taibeh they suffered hostile treatment from the local population who did not welcome them and did not accept the reality of their lands being confiscated by the state. They were called names such as “traitors” because they chose to serve in the Israeli Army (even though Taibeh is an Israeli town in every sense).

 

Next, the Bedouins suffered several forms of harassment. As if it was not enough that the state confiscated the lands with no recompense, in 1988 the municipality of Taibeh decided to destroy several buildings that were ready for inhabitance, claiming that the Bedouins did not have building permits. Only recently, and due to pressure from above does the Taibeh municipality intend to include the Bedouin neighborhood in its master plan. The program, however, is stuck due to political interests.

 

Challenge

In moving from a tribal nomadic desert life to sedentary life, the Bedouin way of life where the entire family was constantly working at unison, lost its relevance; young people ceased to look up to their elders, the Bedouin culture and traditions began to fade, pride and identity began to fray, and schooling became difficult task.

 

The earlier generation (lacking formal education and understanding of official systems) wants their daughters to stay at home without any activity and make it difficult for children to succeed in school. In addition, they want their sons to get married in early age. This also aggravates the intergenerational gap.  Consequently, illiteracy and school drop-out are increasing, as well as idleness and lack of pride of the youth. In addition, the Bedouin community has no formal and informal frameworks available for youth, no green spaces nor infrastructure for sport, and no library.

 

The transition to sedentary life has been particularly traumatic for women. Traditionally, women kept the family tent, educated the children, harvested the crops, and produced household goods. But these are redundant jobs in the city, women became inactive and few have the skills necessary for the modern settled house work and labour market. Women, once productive partners in the Bedouin economy, are now thought of as burdens to their families. The Generation Gap is the main and very difficult consequence of the transition from the nomadic life to sedentary one.

 

A Generation Gap was created among the Bedouin community of Taibeh, there are two generations, with different mentality and way of life. Every generation try to prove its existence among the community and try to lead it in the sake for better life condition. The land confiscation and transition were the turning point in the relation system among the Bedouin community itself.

 

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