Middle East Studies

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From Desert to Town

The Integration of Bedouin into Arab Fellahin Villages and Towns in the Galilee, 1700–2020

Dr. Tomer Mazarib is a cultural anthropologist and social historian, specializing in the study of tribal societies in the Middle East, including the Bedouin in Israel, in their historical, social, cultural, economic and political aspects. Dr. Mazarib holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and an MA from the Israel Studies Department and the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Haifa University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford University.

From Desert to Town sheds light on the sedentarizaion and integration of Bedouin living in fellahin towns and villages in the Galilee, between 1700 and 2020. The purpose is to analyze the dynamics of the factors and circumstances that led to this migration. Official history has always lacked data on the Bedouin population in Palestine. Historians have recorded the biography of particular elites, and especially in the context of local warfare and tribal antagonisms, but have hitherto neglected ongoing migration from desert life to town life of Bedouin in the Galilee. The historical record is further complicated by the Bedouin themselves, who over time have been reluctant to register with governmental authority, whether Ottoman, British, or Israeli. This book brings together the available historical information combined with ethnographic data, from which it is possible to derive, analyze, and infer much information about Bedouin life in the Galilee over the past three hundred years.  


The move from rural to town for populations world-wide has dominated twentieth-century migration patterns. The move from desert life, as opposed to the move from rural life, has distinctive features, making the Bedouin case unique in its social complexity: from change in the use of language to the economic underpinning of intermarriage. A comprehensive understanding of the process of Bedouin settlement and integration into urban society has major social, cultural and economic implications for the wider Israeli society. The work is a major contribution to government planning at many levels, including population disbursement and education.


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-153-5
Hardback Price: £75/$89.95
Release Date: March 2022
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Illustrations, graphs, tables, and facsimile material.




List of Maps, Figures, Graphs and Tables


List of Abbreviations






Introduction: A View from the Field







Historical Background: The Bedouin in Palestine, 1700-1918









Galilee Bedouin under British Rule, 1918-1948









Impact of the 1948 War on the Bedouin









Israeli Military Rule, 1948-1966: Chain Migrations and Government Plans









Governmental and Civilian Events, 1966-2020: Bedouin Settlement in Fellahin Villages and Towns







Summary and Conclusions











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