My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XI The Bedouins

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XI The Bedouins

Daniel Weishut, Psy.D.

We may expect readers of these lines to be relatively acquainted with Euro-American cultures, but much less with Bedouin life and culture. Bedouin culture provides part of the context of this friendship and Bashar’s cultural background. Therefore, I will supply the reader with some insights in central aspects of Bedouin life and culture. This essay will start with information on the demography of the Bedouins; in general, and specifically concerning the Bedouins in Israel. It will continue with a description of the Jahalin Bedouins, the Palestinian Bedouins living near Jerusalem. Since for the Bedouins, demography is tightly interwoven with geography, I will relate to issues concerning geography in both of these parts. The chapter will finish with a description of leadership within the Bedouin community, while referring to Bashar’s position as sheikh in the Jahalin tribe. First, I have a story.

Stories of friendship: Settling a theft

I found it fascinating to listen to Bashar’s stories about the many Bedouin sulha’s (peacemaking practices) that he attended either as facilitator or as participant. My listening to stories became a substantial element in our friendship. I will include here an incident in which I had no part other than being a curious and attentive listener to its story. The story exemplifies many of the ideas that will be developed subsequently.


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About the Author

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Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations.Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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