The Changing Role of Camels among the Bedouin of the Negev

A. Allan Degen, Shaher El-Meccawi, Michael Kam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Traditionally, Negev Bedouin depended on semi-nomadic pastoralism for their livelihood and were always associated with camels. Camels were used as pack animals, for transportation, and for plowing. These functions have recently been replaced by motorized vehicles. Urbanization changed Bedouin societies and presently there is much less need and space available to maintain camels. While the number of camels increased worldwide, mainly because of meat and milk production, the number of camels among Negev Bedouin decreased. They rarely eat camel meat and milk production is on a small scale, mostly unofficial. Most, particular younger Bedouin, believe that they are less identified with camels than with sheep and goats. All, however, expressed their desire to maintain camels for traditional reasons, but complained that it is difficult to do so due to a lack of grazing lands, government indifference, and tax laws concerning camels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • And urine
  • Camelmeat
  • Camels
  • Eco-tourism
  • Government regulations
  • Grazing land
  • Israel
  • Milk
  • Negev Bedouin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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