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The Negev Bedouin (Arabic: بدو النقب‎, Badū an-Naqab; Hebrew: הבדואים בנגב‎ Habeduim Banegev) are traditionally pastoral semi-nomadic Arab tribes living in the Negev region in Israel who hold close ties to the Bedouin of the Sinai Peninsula. The move away from their traditional lifestyle in modern times has led to sedentarization. Most of the Negev Bedouin tribes migrated to the Negev from the Arabian Desert, Transjordan, Egypt, and the Sinai from the eighteenth century onwards.
Estimated to number some 160,000,[2] they comprise 12% of the Arab
citizenry of Israel.[3] Of Israel's total population, 12% live in the Negev,and Negev Bedouin constitute approximately 25% percent of the total
Goats grazing in the township of Tel Sheva
Negev Bedouin are defined today as Arab nomads who live by rearing livestock in the deserts of southern Israel. The Negev Bedouin community consists of tribes that used to be nomadic/semi-nomadic. The community is traditional and conservative, with a well-defined value system that directs and monitors behaviour and interpersonal relations.
The Negev Bedouin tribes have been divided into three classes, according to their origin: descendants of ancient Arabian nomads, peasants (Fellaheen) who came from cultivated areas, and descendants of those brought from Africa as slaves.
Counter to the image of the Bedouin as fierce stateless nomads roving the entire region, by the turn of the 20th century, much of the Bedouin population in Palestine was settled, semi-nomadic, and engaged in agriculture according to an intricate system of land ownership, grazing rights, and water access.
Today, many Bedouin call themselves 'Negev Arabs' rather than ‘Bedouin,’ explaining that 'Bedouin' identity is intimately tied in with a pastoral nomadic way of life – a way of life they say is over. Although the Bedouin in Israel continue to be perceived as nomads, today all of them are fully sedentarized, and about half are urbanites.. Nevertheless, Negev Bedouin continue to possess goats and sheep: in 2000 the Ministry of Agriculture estimated that the Negev Bedouin owned 200,000 head of sheep and 5,000 of goats, while Bedouin estimates referred to 230,000 sheep and 20,000 goats.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Additional Photos by EYAL BARTOV (bartove) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 69 W: 0 N: 202] (2861)
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