Policy Studies - Arabs and Jews in Israel
THE FLOERSHEIMER INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES
The Urbanization of the Bedouin and Bedouin - Fallakhin in the Negev Ben-David Yosef and Gonen Amiram
Within the framework of research at the Floersheimer Institute for Policy Studies on the Arabs in Israel, Yosef Ben-David and Amiram Gonen studied the socio-cultural aspects of urbanization processes among the Bedouin population in the Negev. Their study highlights significant disparities in the culture and way of life of two principal source groups ? the Bedouin and Bedouin-Falakhin. Until the 1970s the Bedouin-Falakhin were the proteges of the Bedouins. The establishment of new Bedouin towns in the Negev attracted mainly the Bedouin-Falakhin, who were more inclined to move into them from the diaspora than the Bedouins. The latter perceived those towns as unbecoming their way of life and aspirations for permanent settlement. Hence, it was by and large the Bedouin-Falkhin who left the diaspora to settle the towns, by contrast to the Bedouin who remained in the diaspora.
Life in the new towns accelerated the emancipation of the Bedouin-Falakhin from their former patrons the Bedouins. Thus, unwittingly, urbanization became a major factor in the significant structural shifts confronting the Bedouin population in the Negev. The cohabitation of the two source groups in settlements, which maintain a municipal framework, has made the Bedouin-Falakhin potential competitors and partners in the municipal democratic game. This possibility was previously closed to them while they remained beyond the town limits and so long as the Bedouin leadership held the reins of power. The Bedouins, who remained in the diaspora and avoided settling in towns, are seeking rural settlements where they can conduct their lives in their own homogeneous tribal environment, unimpeded by competition with those who, till recently, were their proteges.