The Bedouin ( Arabic: بَدَوِي , badawī) is a recent term in the Arabic language that is used commonly to refer to the people (Arabs and non-Arabs) who live, or have descended from tribes who lived, stationary or nomadic lifestyles outside cities and towns.
They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans (known in Arabic as ʿashāʾir; عَشَائِر) and share a common culture of herding camels and goats.
The eastern Bedouin are camel breeders and herders, while the western Bedouin herd sheep and goats.
60% of Bedouin men smoke.
In urban townships, access to water is also an issue: an article from the World Zionist Organization Hagshama Department explains that water allocation to Bedouin towns is 25-50% of that to Jewish towns. Since the State has not built water infrastructure in the unrecognized villages, residents must buy water and store it in large tanks where fungi, bacteria and rust develop very quickly in the plastic containers or metal tanks under conditions of extreme heat; this has led to numerous infections and skin diseases.
Livestock and herding, principally of goats and dromedary camels comprised the traditional livelihoods of Bedouins. These two animals were used for meat, dairy products and wool.
Prior to the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence, an estimated 65,000–90,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev desert. According to Encyclopedia Judaica, 15,000 Bedouin remained in the Negev after 1948; other sources put the number as low as 11,000.
In 1999, 110,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev, 50,000 in the Galilee and 10,000 in the central region of Israel.
All of the Bedouin were granted Israeli citizenship in 1954.