March 23, 2000
Diversity in the Desert
Politics aside, most acknowledge historic significance of pope's trip
In the photos, soldiers toting Uzis await transportation to army bases in the south. In an open-air market, an Ethiopian Jewish woman in a brightly colored dress heatedly argues over the price of a chicken with a partially veiled Bedouin woman clad in dark robes. Elderly Russian war veterans sell Soviet medals to bargain-hunters; goats and camels are startled by rumbling convoys of flatbed semis hauling battle tanks.
"Transitions: Russians, Ethiopians and Bedouins in Israel's Negev Desert" captures a unique moment in Israeli history: the year that tens of thousands of newly-arrived Russians and Ethiopians streamed into the desert and struggled to settle on the periphery of Israel's urban culture. There, they encountered another group in transition: indigenous Bedouins moving from nomadic encampments to towns created for them in the desert.