Who are Bedouin Arabs?

1 min read
Who are Bedouin Arabs? Blog Image


A popular video on social media shows local Israelis expressing their gratitude to a Bedouin commander for putting up an effective defence against Hamas fighters.

About Bedouin Arabs

  • The Bedouins are a nomadic Muslim Arab people who live mainly in the Negev desert of southern Israel.
  • They have traditionally been pastoralists with no powerful or exclusive national affiliation, who would, until about a century and a half ago, wander the area between Saudi Arabia and the Sinai with their livestock.
  • The Bedouin population in Israel currently numbers 210,000 individuals residing in various regions of the state, with a significant presence in the Negev desert in the South.
  • How did the Bedouins come to join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF)?
    • During the last several decades of Ottoman rule, the Bedouin began to settle into a largely sedentary life.
    • Before the formation of Israel, groups of Bedouin were employed by early Jewish settlers to guard clusters of their communities in Palestine.
    • During the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49, many Bedouin provided valuable intelligence to the Jewish militias and the newly formed IDF, and some of them also fought against the Arab armies alongside the Jews.
    • In the 1950s, Israel recognised a large number of Bedouin as its citizens and subsequently helped build settlements for them in the Negev.
    • Many Bedouin continued to serve in the IDF, primarily in scouting or tracking units.
    • In 1970, a Bedouin scouting unit was established in the IDF’s Southern Command, and similar units have since been established in other areas. 
    • In 1993, Israel inaugurated a memorial to Bedouin warriors on a hilltop in Galilee, bearing the names of 154 Bedouin soldiers who lost their lives in the service of the country.

Q1) What is Hamas?

Hamas is a militant Palestinian nationalist and Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian territories. The acronym stands for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, which translates to "Islamic Resistance Movement"

Source: Who are the Bedouin Arabs in the Israeli army?