Title: Bedouin chefs catering Bedouin weddings in the Negev Desert of Southern Israel

Authors: A. Allan Degen, Shaher El-Meccawi

Addresses: Desert Animal Adaptations and Husbandry, Wyler Department of Dryland Agriculture, Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel. ' Research and Development of Negev Bedouins, P.O. Box 999, Hura 85730, Israel

Abstract: There are 180,000 to 200,000 Bedouin in the Negev Desert. Traditionally, they were nomadic pastoralists relying on sheep, goats and camels for their livelihood. Today about half the population live in urban communities. Men have practically abandoned raising livestock and have entered the wage labour market. Some Bedouin have started business ventures and are self-employed. A relatively new specialised enterprise, and one which is rapidly gaining popularity, is catering meals, especially for weddings. In this study, we examined this emerging enterprise in Tel Sheva, a Bedouin community of 16,000 inhabitants. Catering weddings for all chefs is a part-time employment and supplements other income. This self-employment in informal in that it is not controlled, and earnings are not declared to government authorities. When considering earnings from catering only, five of 22 chefs earned about 82% of the annual average Tel Sheva salary while five chefs earned above the average.

Keywords: Negev Bedouin; enterprise; indigenous chefs; catering weddings; Israel; Bedouin weddings; self-employment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2011.042060

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2011 Vol.7 No.3, pp.303 - 318

Available online: 23 Aug 2011 *

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