Bedouin embroidery in Israel

The Center for Bedouin Embroidery, “Tatreez Al-Badiah”, is situated in the village of Laqiya located in the Northern Negev between Lahavim, and Tel Shoqet, on route 31, Israel.The goal of the Bedouin Embroidery Project is to remove Bedouin women from the cycle of unemployment and to promote their economic and social status.The Project operates a cottage industry for women in the area, using the traditional skills they possess. Thus the project preserves knowledge of decorative motifs that are among the assets of the tradition of Bedouin women. Traditional Bedouin embroidery is incorporated into fashionable products such as a variety of bags and purses, tablecloths, wall hangings etc. Every pattern is hand embroidered. The products are suitable for gifts and souvenirs from Israel at home and abroad.The Project operates a Guest Center in a Bedouin tent, in an authentic atmosphere, where we give explanations concerning the situation of Bedouin women and their families during the period of transition from nomadic to sedentary life and demonstrations of kinds of embroidery and the history of embroidery patterns.Products embroidered by the Desert Embroidery Project can be purchased on the spot.

I had the priviledge to meet the founder of this organization and to interview her. It was a wonderful time. She has a clear vision about improving the women of her own people who are inhabitants of the land of Israel. The Bedouin women live in a different culture than we are used to. Their husbands have the freedom to marry four women. This results often in trouble in the family. The women of hardly any freedom or rights and this organization tries to bring change for the women in a positiv approach and also to preserve the culture in the sense of artistic expression through embroidery.

In the embroidery itself one can see the struggle of the women and their lack of freedom. For us in the western countries it almost seems very natural to have this freedom. However we should not forget that some 100 years ago we had women in our societies standing up for freedom and women’s rights.

Just to have the right over your own children if the husband died was not natural in those days and much more. We owe to women like Naama, the founder of the organization above, that we have come this far.
If you have a opportunity to visit the site or if you visit Israel to visit their village in the Northern Negev I highly recommand you to do so and buy their products.