Bedouins, an Arab ethnic group, with the name translating to “nomad” is a minority population in Israel of over 114,000 people. Bedouins are historically from the Middle East and Africa. Traditionally, they live in clans and majority of Bedouins that live in Israel are located in Israel’s Southern region, in the Negev Desert. Meeting with Bedouins and experiencing their hospitable culture is definitely an opportunity you cannot miss while touring the Holy Land.
Visiting with Bedouins can be a couple of hours up to a few days, depending on what you want. Typical Bedouin hospitality involves receiving food and tea/coffee in a large tent, along with a tour of where they live and getting a camel ride in the desert. You will also hear about Bedouin traditions and culture.
A great resource with different Bedouin communities to visit can be found HERE. Below are a few of the communities from the wesbite I want to highlight:
1. Kfar Hanokdim is used to hosting both large and intimate groups. It offers various meals, activities (such as making Bedouin coffee), camel and donkey treks, and has tents, lodges, and cabins for overnight stays. Although the interactions with Bedouins are genuine, it is important to know that this destination is geared for national and international tourists.
Click HERE to go to Kfar Hanokdim’s direct website.
2. Desert Ship (Sfinat Hamidbar), close to the main desert city of Be’er Sheva, is also a wonderful experience including Bedouin meals, camel rides, jeep tours and safaris into the desert. Additionally, this destination offers drum circles, Bedouin music, and overnight accommodations in both tents and bungalows.
3. The Hidden Village definitely is a genuine, authentic experience. The host, named Salman, is the head of the village and will share with you his experiences as a Bedouin for the past 30 years. He will also speak about the tough decisions Bedouins today have to make in Israel, such as which type of education he wants for his children.
For more details of the experience, check out THIS post.
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To learn about another minority population in Israel, check out “10 Facts about Druze“!