The Silent Fight for Freedom

25 images Created 5 Aug 2018

Bedouins are some the poorest people in Israel, they have citizenship, but they continue living in the same style their ancestors did: Like nomads, mostly in unrecognized villages in the middle of the Israeli desert with little to no water, going to school by feet and not having the same possibilities as men, not to mention the same as Israelis. Women are treated more as a commodity than individuals: They cannot drive, they cannot work and they rarely exit their house without their husband. One of the major problems some of these women are trying to fight is polygamy, which is illegal in Israel, but yet strongly diffused in the south of the country for its tribal and traditional origin. Honor killing by family members is also still highly diffused and hard to eradicate. During the production of our story, a Bedouin woman we did not know personally got killed by her husband’s family for what seemed to have been an honor killing homicide *(the images with the white masks are from the protest that Bedouin lawyer and other women organized the next day). Nobody spoke about this. Very little was known. Still very little is allowed to be known pending more possible violence

A well known Bedouin lawyer, Insaf Ben-Abu-Shareb and two Israeli women are currently working with the Israeli police to come-up with a women shelters inside the actual Bedouin villages where women in danger can find refuge without having to go drive-up north where most of Israel’s women shelters are. Shelters could really decrease the amount of honor killing and abuses among these tribes.Abu-Shareb is also counsels women whose husband often takes a second wife from the West Bank and wish to bring her home even if illegally so. Not to mention she is leading protest against honor killing and trying to help in any other legal matter of abuses possible.

Mona Al-Habnen, is also a Bedouin woman involved in their empowerment by leading these women through trips to the Knesset, to allow them to interact with the Bedouin Parliament members as a way to see if their future candidacy is truly possible and could aid change. She lives in Rahat, the capital of the Bedouin world in the Negev and she often takes care of other issues from poverty organizing, clothing swaps to also counsels women’s abuses due to polygamous relationships.

Bedouin women remain the most underrepresented voice within Israel despite their ancient historical presence in the territory.
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