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People and Society, Way of Life

moshav, separate lives, Bedouins, Israeli Jews, southern Israel

Jews and Arabs of Israel lead largely separate lives, with little social and cultural exchange. Although of varying backgrounds, Israeli Jews share many unifying influences such as Judaic tradition, the Hebrew language, the Holocaust (the murder of millions of Jews in Europe by Nazi Germany), and the socialist ideals of the early Zionist pioneers in Palestine. Furthermore, most Israeli Jews share the formative experience of compulsory military service from age 18 and subsequent years of reserve service for one or two months per year. Nevertheless, lifestyles vary markedly based on such factors as country of origin, length of residence in Israel, level of religious observance, and urban or rural location. In general, family life and religious celebrations play an important role in society. Popular recreational activities include camping, hiking, and going to the beach, as well as use of the countryís many sports facilities, libraries, and theaters. Many Israelis also enjoy traveling abroad.

Many of Israelís rural Jews live in two types of cooperative communities, the kibbutz and the moshav. In a kibbutz, residents own all property collectively and contribute work in exchange for basic necessities. In a moshav, families own separate farms but cooperate in some aspects of agricultural marketing.

Israelís Arab population, although sharing a common language and many other cultural affinities, is divided along religious lines. Muslim Arabs, most of whom are Sunnis, live mainly in small towns and villages and follow many of the traditions of the Islamic world. Within this group, the Bedouins remain culturally distinct. Traditionally nomads with a tribal social framework, many Bedouins now live in permanent settlements in southern Israel. Christian Arabs reside mostly in the cities and follow the various traditions of Eastern or Western Christianity. The Druze, another distinct community residing in villages of northern Israel, hold cultural and religious ties with Druze communities in Lebanon and Syria.

Article key phrases:

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