Instead of planned activities, students spend most of the day working on their stories, heading out to conduct interviews and shoot video. There wasn’t a whole lot of sightseeing to be done anyway, with the blustery winds and soaking downpours. Certainly not the beachy, Mediterranean city we’d hoped for. Perhaps we’ll get another opportunity to enjoy the Tel Aviv sand when we return in a couple of days.
So we packed up and headed south and east to Tel Sheva, in the middle of the Negev Desert. The population gets more and more sparse as you head south out of Tel Aviv and past Jerusalem. Our focus today was on the Bedouin community in Israel. This group has been in the area since the 1700s and practiced its nomadic ways without much problem. But as Israel became more established after 1948, the idea of wandering around and setting up camp on other people’s property didn’t fly. So there’s a serious tension between the Bedouins and the Israeli government.
Beyond that conflict, we also heard about the disconnect between traditional Bedouin life and the expectations of the 21st century.
Sohayla Abobkeek told us about her battle with Bedouin traditions as she worked to establish her own businesses. She’s an entrepreneur at heart, but has more problems than just finding startup money. Her husband doesn’t like the idea of her making her own money, much less getting a driver’s license and making deliveries. She has set an example for her daughters that hard work can make dreams come true, but that has also been met with resistance from the male members of her community. She pushes on despite that.
Tomorrow we have high hopes for better weather so we can enjoy floating in the Dead Sea.
Some other photos of the day: