Bedouin-Jewish Get-Together

A unique gathering aimed at improving Jewish and Bedouin ties was held Tuesday afternoon in the Negev city of Rahat.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 16:47

A unique gathering to improve Jewish and Bedouin ties was held Tuesday afternoon in the Negev city of Rahat, the only Bedouin municipality to hold city status.

The event began with informal talks among the participants and interviews with the press. First to address the gathering was Sheikh Salem Al-Huzeil, declaring the “Our State” Movement together with the religious-Zionist “Hit’habrut” (Joining Together) Movement.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch (Israel Our Home) then spoke, followed by Tzvi MiSinai, an expert on the Jewish ancestry of Arabs in Israel – a topic on which a short movie was then screened. MiSinai claims that the majority of the Arabs in Israel, including the Bedouin, are descendants of Jews. One place where MiSinai has apparently found very strong Jewish roots is in the Bedouin tribe known as the Sawarka, based in the Sinai and the Negev. Tribal leaders say their ancestors were forced to convert to Islam, yet they still retain many Jewish customs.

Rahat’s Education Department head Dr. Ali Al-Huzeil also addressed the gathering, speaking on Bedouin Tradition and Cooperation with the Zionist Movement.

Representatives of the nascent Sanhedrin organization, which seeks to revive the age-old tradition of a central Jewish Legal authority, were also present, and spoke on the Halachic aspects of those who claim to have Jewish ancestry, Noahides, and more.

In addition, a Bedouin IDF officer shared his experiences and spoke on the Bedouin tradition of self-sacrifice in the army. Salama Al-Turi discussed the issue in some depth, including the lack of Israeli appreciation and understanding of the Bedouin tradition of self-sacrifice in the army.


More Arutz Sheva videos:


top