Traditional Experiences with the Bedouin tribes of the Negev Highlands

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Customs and Traditions

The Sarahin and the Ziadin clans, who belong to the Azzazme tribe, are shepherding Bedouins who live on the Negev Highlands. The people of these clans are among the last of the Bedouins in Israel, who still maintain a traditional way of life and fiercely guard their ancient culture, customs, and traditions.

The desert culture of these clans encompasses all aspects of life in a tribal, semi-nomadic society in the heart of the desert, migrating seasonally and herding the pasture. They possess ancient knowledge necessary for survival in the desert – methods for finding water, a deep understanding of desert plants for medicine and food, and extraordinary abilities to track and interpret footprints. Along with their unique skills to live independently in the heart of the desert, extensive knowledge of breeding animals suitable for the desert was developed and is preserved to this day: the black goat and the camel, which provide the Bedouins with milk (from which cheese, butter and samanah are produced), meat and, of course, wool from which they spin threads and weave clothes, other useful objects and the sheets of the traditional tents.

Along with the ability to cope successfully and over generations, with the forces of the desert nature, the Bedouins developed a rich desert culture of poetry and music, hospitality customs, sets of religious beliefs and rituals (some of which have been preserved since the time before Islam), a cuisine rich in flavors, traditional medicine, systems of law and justice, an ownership system of land and desert agriculture, principles which go back in time to the Nabateans.

Below are links to some articles that shed more light on this unique desert culture.

The Bedouin Tracker

Why are the Bedouins in need of exploration knowledge? The question is closely connected to the Bedouin way of life in the desert, their safety, the security of their property and their animals, as well as their relations with the neighboring tribes.

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