• General Background

      The village of al-Bḥīrah is an unrecognized Bedouin village of some 3000 residents, located 3 km East of Ksīfih, West of Route 80. The village is a historic village that was settled before the establishment of the state of Israel, and most of its residents live on their own claimed lands. In the village there are a variety of ancient stone houses (Baika) and water wells. Al-Bḥīrah is a wide area that includes the Nevatim airfield. The Buḥīrah in Arabic means a lake and in winter lakes form on the terrain and the both village and the area generally are thus so named.

      Services and Infrastructure

      Al-Bḥīrah receives no government services, residents must drive to the near by towns of Ksīfih and ʿArʿarah an-Nagab. There is no school in the village, and local pupils must drive every day to Ksīfih or ʿArʿarah an-Nagab. There is one kindergarten established and operated by the local council of Ksīfih, yet the authorities have issued a demolition order against it. In al-Bḥīrah there is no clinic, and residents must travel to nearby town for medical care.

      There are no paved roads in al-Bḥīrah. During the last couple of years the residents laid water pipes on their expense from Ksīfih, and those living near the main pipe line have permission to connect pipes up to the main water line at their own expense. The village of al-Bḥīrah is not connected to the electricity grid, and its residents use solar panels, despite the high costs of installation.

      Al-Bḥīrah has a critical level of poverty and unemployment. The vast majority of the residents, approximately 90%, rely on guaranteed minimal income from social security. Over the course of the years, the villagers earned a living from agriculture and grazing, but these days it is hard to make a living that way.


      The area of al-Bḥīrah is defined by the Be’er-Sheva Metropolitan Plan as “desert view zone” where construction is prohibited. The Nevatim airfield borders on the village and therefore its residents suffer from aircraft noise. House demolitions occur in the village every couple of months, and some of its houses are currently (2014) subject to demolition orders. Due to the demolitions and demolition orders, the village is not able to expand.  Young couples and large families are not able to build a new house, or even to extend their existing houses. If residents carry out even the most minor renovations the authorities arrive and demolish the house. Therefore, some of the residents decided to split their house in two, in order to allow their sons to live with them. The residents of al-Bḥīrah want to continue to live in the village, on their own lands, whether the village will be annexed to Ksīfih, or be recognized as an independent village.