Immersion Arabic Course in First Solar Bedouin Village in Israel

darajat-solar-village

For many tourists to the Israeli Negev desert, a visit to the Bedouins includes a commercialized camel ride and perhaps an afternoon spent in a tent near Mitzpeh Ramon.

But as the Jerusalem Post writes, the Desert Sites tourist company is offering a revolutionary immersion Arabic course in the last week of July in the Bedouin township of Darajat (also spelled Dirgat), known as Israel’s first solar village.

Israel has 160,000 Bedouin Arab citizens. Between 50-60 percent  of them live in recognized communities and the other are strewn about the landscape in unrecognized villages in tin-roofed shantytowns. Darajat is a recognized village with a population of approximately 800.

Most residents have solar water heaters and electric systems, the school is powered by wind and sun, and students learn hands-on about alternative energy by reading the power meters in their classrooms. The village also boasts a solar mosque, below.

darajat-solar-mosque

Students in the Arabic course will live with host families in Darajat for five days, during which they will chat in Arabic while learning about Bedouin weaving, baking bread in communal ovens, and watching traditional music performances.

Last year, Haaretz profiled Desert Sights and its founder Tomer Cahane, who started the company in 2000.

“We realized we wanted to bring the Bedouin and the Israelis closer, and to break down a number of stereotypes,” he told Haaretz.

“When I conduct a tour of Rahat, the participants say they would not have gone there alone. The image of the Bedouin has been terrible in recent years, and we must overcome anxieties and prejudices.”

The program costs NIS 1,850 and runs from July 26-30. For more information, check out the Web site.

(All photos by Daniella Cheslow)

More on Bedouins in Israel:

  1. Bedouin and “Bustan” Green The Desert With Tree Planting Event 
  2. Water & the Bedouin: Sharing the Resources 
  3. Support Bedouin treeplanting and Green education with a Tel Aviv shakedown!
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