The Bedouin of the
Negev is perhaps Israel's poorest population sector today. A society in
transition with one of the world's highest birthrates, the Negev Bedouin faces
extraordinary challenges on both individual and community levels. The statistics
are dramatic and alarming:
More than 70% of
Bedouin families receive some sort of assistance from the welfare
In many Bedouin
villages, unemployment rates are close to 70%.
Less than two
percent of the Bedouin hold advance degrees (BA or higher).
Only ten percent
of high school graduates apply to post-secondary educational programs.
of Bedouin applicants to colleges and universities are accepted, in contrast
to 65% of their non-Bedouin counterparts.
Attrition rates of
Bedouin college students are approximately three times higher than those of
The Bedouin community
of the Negev is a society in transition. The transition from a nomadic and
semi-nomadic society into a civic society requires a special care of
professionals. In order to ease this transition, there is an increasing need for
people from the Bedouin community who gained academic education and training in
the area of the helping professions.
The world we live in
is increasingly interdependent yet unequal. The Bedouin community is a vibrant
and vital component of the Negev. Children in the Bedouin sector are the
victims of the pervasive inequalities present today. Yet, there is convincing
evidence that culturally sensitive counseling and intervention programs can make
a difference in educational advancement and the securing of viable employment
opportunities amongst even the most disadvantaged.