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Photo Essays

Kobi Wolf | The story of the Bedouin tribesmen

The story of the Bedouin tribesmen in the unrecognized village of wadi al-Na’am southern Israel desert.

Wadi al-Na’am is an unrecognized Bedouin village located in the Negev Desert in Southern Israel. The village is home to about 8,000 Bedouins.  Since the Bedouins never registered their holdings on paper, their villages were considered illegal and termed “unrecognized”. The villagers are deprived of basic services such as electricity, running water, sewage system and medical services. As the villagers cannot build homes legally, the Israeli government uses demolition orders against their homes.
Israel’s hazardous industrial park and waste disposal facility, Ramat Hovav, is only 1 km away from Wadi al-Na’am. Ramat Hovav currently encompasses 14 hazardous agro and petro-chemical factories and a toxic waste incinerator. The village is also encircled by a large facility of the national electric company as well as military areas including live-fire range.
An epidemiological survey, which was released by the Israeli Ministry of Health in 2004, found higher rates of prenatal deaths, respiratory problems and birth defects among the Bedouins in the Negev. Wadi el Na’am inhabitants have been suffering from high rates of cancer, asthma  and miscarriages.

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