The Negev: Desert People

After passing through a fertile agriculture zone,  one confronts the sand dunes of the Negev. In this dry, hot place, the evidence of human innovation is everywhere. With bold sweeps, the land rolls seemingly endlessly onward.  Yet, human communities live within this the expansive collage of sand, rock, and the majesty of the maktesh, exemplifying the link between the possibility of geography and that of the human spirit.   For about seven hundred years in the late 4th century BCE, the Nabateans established a spice trade route that crossed this place. For over seven thousand years, the Bedouin, a semi-nomadic indigenous population have raised  livestock here.  Since 1948, Yemenite, Ethiopian and Soviet Jews have inhabited the modern city of Beersheba. Sde Boker, a midreshet founded by David Ben Gurion, also inhabits the landscape providing education and research about the desert and enacting Ben-Gurion’s vision that the desert possesses rich resources.  The Negev is an impressive geography and hiking within it can easily evoke the sensation of human dependence on place.  The desert – dotted by oases, wildflowers, wildlife and human communities – is not barren. As human communities have divorced themselves from a recognition of their dependence on place and mistakenly placed their faith only in technology, the desert, the Negev remains under utilized and misunderstood.

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One Response to “The Negev: Desert People”

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