Migdal Haemek is a city in the upper north of Israel, next to the sea of Galilee. Around 28,000 people live in the city, which is located in the most ethnically diverse district in Israel.The coexistence of the many different ethnic groups in one city repeatedly leads to tense situations and discriminatory practices. This is especially true for the Bedouins, a nomadic Arab tribe whose members live in communities near Migdal Haemek. They suffer from one of the largest unemployment rates in Israel, leading to less opportunities for growth and equality.
Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Migdal Haemek.
The Bedouins are nomadic Arab tribes who have lived in the deserts of Asia and the Middle East for centuries. Today, many have abandoned nomadic traditions to focus on a modern lifestyle while remaining true to their traditional culture. An estimated 50,000 Bedouins live in the northern district where Migdal Haemek is located. Some of them live in government-established Bedouin-only villages, while others live in unrecognised villages, since they are afraid of giving up their traditions. However, 80% of the inhabitants of these illegal villages live in poverty, have a high unemployment rate and only limited access to health care. Children are particularly vulnerable to the lack of health care.
Many cities in Israel, like Migdal Haemek, are home to an eclectic mix of Jews, Arabs, and minorities, which can be further divided into many different ethnic groups. All of them have different traditions and cultures. Sadly, this also creates discrimination and racism between them. This does not only include discriminatory attitudes in social life, but also institutional discrimination, in employment, the media, immigration rights, housing, and legal policies. While 76% of Israeli Jews feel like anti-Semitism is increasing, 37% of Muslims in Israel have faced a discriminatory situation in the last 12 months. Racism affects everyone, adults and children alike.