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Rahat (Arabic: رهط‎, Hebrew: רַהַט‎) is a predominantly Bedouin city in the Southern District of Israel. In 2019 it had a population of 71,437.[1] As such, it is the largest Bedouin city in the world, and the only one in Israel to have city status.

Rahat is one of seven Bedouin townships in the Negev desert with approved plans and developed infrastructure (the other six are Hura, Tel as-Sabi (Tel Sheva), Ar'arat an-Naqab (Ar'ara BaNegev), Lakiya, Kuseife (Kseife) and Shaqib al-Salam (Segev Shalom).[2]

History

The region of the city formerly owned by Al-Tayaha tribe (Al-Hezeel clan). Until the year 1972 the town was called "El Huzaiyil"[3] (Arabic: الهزيل‎) before changing its name. In 1972 Rahat was considered by the government of Israel as a new settlement for Bedouin who lived in the surrounding area without permanent domicile. Until 1980, Rahat was part of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council and from then on (until 1994) it was a local council (administered by a private board until 1989). In 1994 it was recognized as a city – the first Bedouin city in Israel.

Urban development

The city has a total of 33 neighborhoods. All but one of the neighborhoods consist entirely of separate Bedouin clans, but one is a mixed-clan neighborhood. Between each neighborhood there is a wadi. The city also has a market, public and commercial services, neighborhood parks, public areas, women's employment centers, children's play areas, and several mosques.[4][5]

Climate

Rahat has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSh). The average annual temperature is 19.6 °C (67.3 °F), and around 286 mm (11.26 in) of precipitation falls annually.

References