Crossing Community Boundaries: Bedouin Women in the ‘Good Neighbors’ Project in the Negev/Naqab, Israel

Batya Roded, Avinoam Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article traces processes of building familiarity between Bedouin and Jewish women in the Negev/Naqab and their implications on various spatial-socio-political scales, using Jewish and Bedouin women in a Good Neighbors group as a case study. This good neighborliness occurs in a colonial framework that does not recognize the Bedouins’ legitimate right to their villages and lands, rather considering them non-citizens. Focusing on Bedouin women, this study identifies and exposes barriers, failures and successes when women from Tal ‘Arād cross physical, cultural social and political boundaries. We interrogate the kinds of boundaries they cross, how this process takes place, and at what intensity. Moreover, we ask what their participation in the process of building inter-community familiarity means for their gender status within the tribal community. The methodology used emerges from a post-abyssal perspective within the framework of a critical approach using qualitative methodology. The sources utilized were in-depth, semi-structured interviews with eight Bedouin women in the group; examples of group activities and discourse and their consequences; and analysis of the observations made of the participants. The findings indicate that the process of crossing boundaries and building familiarity from below, which contributes to good neighborly relations, underpins the establishment of trust and the growth of a joint social platform on a limited scale. Long-term potential for establishing a different discourse and developing a healthy society in the Negev is inherent in expanding the circle of Good Neighbors groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-159
Number of pages22
JournalGeography Research Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • crossing boundaries
  • familiarity
  • good neighborliness
  • post-abyssal perspective
  • Recognition from below

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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