The path to education is hardly paved… the occupation deepens the suffering of Bedouin women in the Negev
Girls’ demand for education in the Negev is an additional weapon in the battle to enhance collective awareness and identity, and to involve women in community life, after they have proven their role in the battle of steadfastness and survival.
Occupied Jerusalem – The Bedouin Arab woman in the Negev is living a battle full of internal societal challenges due to customs and traditions, along with racism, discrimination and systematic marginalization of Arab women by the Israeli establishment. This exacerbates and deepens the suffering of the Bedouin woman, who struggles to find her way to life.
The reality of women in the Negev, which is inhabited by 300,000 people (49% males and 51% females), cannot be separated from the discrimination, racism and exclusion policy adopted by the Israeli governments towards the Palestinian Arab community inside, and in the Negev in particular, which is fighting an existential battle over land and housing.
The social and economic situation of the Bedouin Arab citizens in the Naqab in general, and the situation of Bedouin women in particular, is considered a very difficult situation, as women there suffer from double discrimination, whether from the local community or Israeli institutional discrimination and prejudice, which is considered the main cause of the tragic reality of Bedouin women, especially for those who She lives in villages stripped of recognition.
The 9 recognized Arab Bedouin towns, 35 villages without recognition, and 11 towns that received official recognition but remained more like refugee camps, are located at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in Israel, where the percentage of Bedouin women in the Negev who are involved in the labor market is about 20%, while The percentage does not exceed 5% in the Bedouin villages without recognition.
On the other hand, the data of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics showed that the general percentage of working women in the Palestinian community inside is 41.4%, compared to 81.3% of working Jewish women, which confirms that the obstacles for women in the Negev to engage in the labor market are double, in light of the weak infrastructure and the lack of opportunities the work.
Unemployment is high in the Negev, especially among women, and reaches 80%, which negatively affects the social development of the Arab family, knowing that 70% of children and Bedouin Arab families live below the poverty line, as one family lives on a monthly income of the value of the minimum wage in the market. Work, which amounts to 1600 dollars per month.
Education and dropout
As for the education of Arab women in the Negev desert, the school dropout data is very high, as Bedouin girls drop out of school during the transition between the preparatory and secondary levels, as only 33% of them obtain the Tawjihi certificate and finish secondary school, while 10% of the total Educated women in the Naqab are women with more than 16 years of education.
In villages stripped of recognition, successive Israeli governments deliberately did not implement the compulsory education law by not building schools in villages. Therefore, education for the Bedouin girl from the primary stage is an impossible task.
If a student wants to learn, the girl must leave the village and travel tens of kilometers, and in many cases, walk among the dunes and sands of the desert, which are the obstacles that have caused the illiteracy phenomenon, which reaches 90% among women over the age of 30.
Societal and political injustice
Amal Al-Nasara, a co-director of the Sidra Association, which deals with the conditions of women in the deprived villages, reviewed the projects that she is undertaking to empower Arab Bedouin women, especially the “weaving and embroidery” project, and the economic development “Sadat Al Badia” project to expand home farming for family consumption.
Al-Nassareh spoke to Al Jazeera Net about the suffering of Arab women in the Negev, especially in villages stripped of recognition, where they face double injustice, injustice from the local community and also the political injustice represented by the approach and practices of the Israeli authorities that marginalize Arab women in general and in the Negev in particular.
The director of Sidra Association explained that the Israeli policies represented in demolishing homes and confiscating lands in villages without recognition are considered the biggest threat to Arab women, as demolition hinders women’s progress and development in society and robs them of a sense of security and safety and the absence of societal stability, accompanied by fears of expulsion and displacement.
discrimination and marginalization
The director of the association pointed out that the Bedouin Arab woman belongs to a residential group, about 50% of whom live in villages without recognition that lack – due to Israeli practices and policies – the necessities of life and basic service conditions, such as water, electricity, transportation and communications, health services, schools, and roads.
There are many problems and difficulties that face girls in the Negev, particularly in villages that have been stripped of recognition. “We grow up in a patriarchal society of polygamy and early marriage, and women are deprived of education and work, as women live in a state of marginalization and societal exclusion,” Nassara says.
The Bedouin Arab woman and the Arab community in the Naqab – says Al-Nasara – “live between old molds represented by customs and traditions, and between modern values and urbanization, most of which are immigrants, in addition to discrimination, racism and marginalization by the Israeli authorities, and therefore, in light of societal contradictions and discriminatory policies, women are often the victims.” first”.
Obstacles and challenges
In light of this reality, the girl, Alia Abu Judeh, 16, from the village of Zaaroura, whose confession has been stripped, refuses to keep the Arab girl in the Negev as a victim of Israeli arbitrary policies. Dialogue for the need to assign and support Bedouin women.
Alia succeeded in gaining the support and trust of her septuagenarian father, Sheikh Abu Rasmi, and she is shining in her secondary studies, and despite the presence of a school in the village, Alia tells Al Jazeera Net, “Since the elementary school, I go for education outside our village, and we often walk for several kilometers, and despite Therefore, I continued my studies and achieved success despite the lack of communications and electricity in my village.”
Alia overcame the obstacles and made her way towards completing her secondary education to face the comprehensive challenges with confidence, saying, “We grow up, whether males or females, in a discriminatory and oppressive environment. We suffer persecution and the destructive Israeli policies for the Arab community in the Negev. daily and obsessions of displacement from the land.
steadfastness and survival
She explained that the collective challenges, the rooting of women in the land, their response to daily demolition, their struggle to stay on the land, and their refusal to leave the villages stripped of recognition, despite Israeli temptations and allegations of providing a luxurious life, gave women and girls in the Negev an advantage of appreciation from the society that realized the need for women to arm themselves with education and work.
Alia is looking forward to continuing her university education and studying the English language, and she enjoys the support of her father and brothers, as she affirms her determination to stay in her hometown, saying, “My goal in studying English is to convey a message to the world about our reality as an Arab society in the Negev and to expose the Israeli violations and plans for the displacement of the Bedouins.”
She stressed that she will remain rooted in her hometown and will not abandon her village of Zaaroura, no matter what positions she attains or attain her academic and educational status, saying, “Girls’ demand for education is an additional weapon in the battle to enhance awareness and collective identity, and to involve women in community life after they have proven their role in The battle of perseverance and survival.