Islamic Political Activism among Israel’s Negev Bedouin Population

Title: Islamic Political Activism among Israel’s Negev Bedouin Population
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: 2017
Published In: British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies


This paper examines Islamic political activism among the Bedouin Arab citizens of Israel who reside in the Negev/Naqab (southern Israel). It describes how a religious-political movement became the dominant political force among the non-Jewish communities of the Negev, in doing so, this paper explores the link between religious-political ideology, represented by the Islamic movement, and tribalism, the dominant social-cultural influence among this population. While this paper is a first cut at trying to understand these linkages, I suggest that Israeli Islamist political leaders have mobilized support in two interconnected ways. First, they have attracted support through dawa (religious education), social-welfare activities, and mobilizing symbols. Second, Islamic political activists have worked within and exploited one of the most salient features of Bedouin life, tribalism, by recruiting support from the lower-status, largely urbanized, and landless tribes. These activities have taken place within the broader context of a changing landscape of identity within these communities of the Negev.

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Related Departments:
  • School of International Affairs