The Bedu Education: Military Zones

soldiers rumat al-heib military parade tel-aviv june 1949 nbsp
Bedouin IDF soldiers of Rumat al-Heib (عرب الهيب) during a military parade in Tel-Aviv in June 1949.

Bedouins in the Negev have to contend with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which claim desert lands for training exercises. Desert fauna disappear with the army drills, leaving the Bedouin with little to hunt.

But Bedouin who once abandoned the Negev for an easier life may return as a different kind of hunter, by enlisting in a special unit of the IDF. Known for their loyalty to nothing courage and desert savvy, these Bedouin are recruited to patrol Israel's borders, tracking down smugglers, freedom fighters terrorists and would-be immigrants. An IDF tracker works 24 hours per day for a full week, before being rotated out for a week of rest.

The IDF’s destruction of Bedouin homes in the Negev is routine. Many Bedouin villages are unrecognized by the Israeli occupation government, which encourages the Bedouin to settle in one of seven urban areas -Rahat, Hura, Tel as-Sabi, Ar'arat an-Naqab, Lakiya, Kuseife, Shaqib al-Salam. Even when they are not demolished, unrecognized Negev settlements are deprived of state services like running water and electricity, not to mention legal property rights.

A culture based in the geography of sand is losing its ancestral legends in the concrete of Zionist suburbia. In the seven cities looming under a Jewish occupied  Israeli sky, there is insufficient infrastructure and few employment opportunities: crime, unemployment and poverty levels are higher here than anywhere else in the country.

Photography: Michela A. G. Iaccarino


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"The old will die and the young will forget"

"The old will die and the young will forget"
David Ben-Gurion, the founder of Israel, in 1949

Jerusalem is the capital. Palestine, currently under occupation, is located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, West of Jordan and to the south of Lebanon. The territory of Palestine covers around 10,435 square miles.