Arad is a city in the southern district of Israel and is located on the border with the Negev Desert. About 26,000 people live in this city - a colourful mix of Ashkenazi, Sephardic, religious and secular Jews and Bedouins. The coexistence of the many different ethnic groups in one city often leads to tense situations and discriminatory practices.This is especially true for the Bedouins, a nomadic Arab tribe living in illegal towns near Arad. They suffer from particularly high unemployment caused by discrimination and therefore cannot escape the vicious cycle of poverty.
Since 1981, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Arad.
The Bedouins are nomadic Arab tribes who have lived in the deserts of Asia and the Middle East for centuries. Nowadays, many have given up nomadic life to focus on a modern lifestyle, while remaining true to their culture. There are an estimated 200,000 Bedouins living in Israel, most of them in the Negev Desert, near Arad. About half of them live in government-built Bedouin-only towns, while the others live in illegally built villages because they are afraid of having to give up their traditions. In fact, 80% of the inhabitants of these illegal villages live in poverty, with high unemployment and limited access to health care, with children being the most vulnerable.
Many cities in Israel, like Arad, are home to a diverse mix of Jews, Arabs and minorities who can be divided into many different ethnic groups. They all have different traditions and cultures.
Unfortunately, this also leads to discrimination and racism between them. This includes not only discriminatory attitudes in social life, but also institutional discrimination, in employment, media, immigration rights, housing and legal policies.
In fact, 76% of Israeli Jews feel that anti-Semitism is on the rise and 37% of Muslims in Israel have experienced a discriminatory situation in the last 12 months. Racism affects everyone, adults and children alike.