My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?
He stems from a family of Muslim Arabs and belongs to the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. His tribe was relocated from Beer Sheba (Israel) to the Judean desert (Palestinian Authority), by the Israeli authorities in the early fifties. He is the youngest of ten children from his father’s third – and last – wife. He was born in 1975 while his mother was herding the goats, and lived in the desert -sometimes in a tent, and sometimes in a cave – until age 12. Then he moved with his family to a house in Anata, a refugee camp near Jerusalem. Most of his siblings live in adjacent houses, but some in adjacent villages.
He walked daily for hours to reach school. There, being a poverty-stricken Bedouin child, he was initially looked down upon, but – unlike other Bedouin children – he rapidly found out that excellence brings him honor. He finished primary and secondary school, while working after school hours. He sold pieces of aluminum he found, in order to buy storybooks to read while herding the family’s goats. When he was out of money, he would look in the streets for old newspapers to read. During secondary school, he mainly worked as shepherd, for which he was paid with a goat every three or four months. Later, he worked in and around Jerusalem in a variety of jobs such as guard, hairdresser and gym-teacher. From the start of this century, it became more and more complicated for him to enter Israel, until in the last couple of years it became too difficult because of the separation wall and the lack of opportunity to obtain an entry permit. He subsequently looked for jobs in the Palestinian Authority.