Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 477–487 | Cite as

Changing drought vulnerabilities of marginalized resource-dependent groups: a long-term perspective of Israel’s Negev Bedouin

  • Amit TubiEmail author
  • Eran Feitelson
Original Article


Marginalized resource-dependent groups (MRDGs) are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and weather extremes. However, research on MRDGs tends to analyze their vulnerability in a specific point in time, thereby neglecting the examination of changes that evolve over time spans that are similar to those on which climatic changes occur. This study adopts a long-term perspective, examining changes in the vulnerability of the marginalized and traditionally agro-pastoralist Bedouin residing in the semi-arid and drought-prone northern Negev region. Utilizing multiple data sources, the study compares the vulnerability of the Bedouin during two severe droughts separated by a 40-year period—the 1957–63 drought and the 1998–2000 drought. The changes in the impacts of the droughts on the Bedouin are identified and analyzed, as well as the main factors explaining these changes. The results indicate that the vulnerability of the Bedouin to droughts has declined considerably, largely due to integration in Israel’s market economy and improved access to water infrastructure. Large-scale economic transformations and changes in settlement and water supply patterns explain much of the reduction in vulnerability. However, the Bedouin have remained marginalized and are vulnerable to fluctuations in market conditions. Thus, while we find that the vulnerability of even the most vulnerable groups can decline over time, we also observe that their vulnerability may change its form from “climate vulnerability” to more general social vulnerability.


Climate change Vulnerability Marginalization Resource dependency Drought Bedouin 



The authors would like to thank Michal Kidron for producing the figures.

Funding information

The first author gratefully acknowledges funding provided by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The funding body had no influence over the publication of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.The Advanced School for Environmental StudiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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