Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hashem Zane

We spent last night in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Hashem Zane, about 15 kilometers east of Be'ersheva in the middle of the Siyaj, the triangular region between the towns of Be'ersheva, Arad, and Dimona that marks the area in which Israel permits the Bedouin to live in the Negev. But although Hashem Zane falls within this area, the government refuses to recognize its existence. This has many effects, which will be further explored in our research paper.

But on a personal level, staying at Hashem Zane last night was a very, very interesting experience. For one thing, there was the fact that we stayed in a traditional Bedouin experience, meaning that we slept on floor mats in a house with minimal insulation in the middle of the desert. In other words, it was cold. But this was fine, as the blankets we used were unbelievably warm. More importantly, the hospitality of the Bedouin at Hashem Zane, as everywhere we have visited so far, was incredible. Attiyah, the leader of the settlement, has been so gracious in making sure that we have comfortable places to sleep and delicious food to eat. It is hard to understand how these people are so strong and gracious in the midst of massive inequality, but their passion (and their coffee!) has fueled us in our efforts.

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