Just hours after it became apparent that the perpetrator of the Oct. 18 attack in Beersheba was Mohannad Khalil Salam al-Okbi, a Bedouin from an unrecognized village near the locality of Hura, the forum of Bedouin mayors held an emergency meeting in Rahat, the largest Bedouin town in Israel. They realized that the entire Bedouin community might be stigmatized as supporting violence against Jews. At the end of the meeting they issued a strong condemnation: “The terrorist that perpetrated the attack today does not represent the Bedouin community, which supports coexistence and a shared life in the Negev.”
Okbi is the first Bedouin to carry out an attack against Israelis, although this is not the first time that Bedouin residents have been charged with security offenses. In July 2015, for example, the Shin Bet reported that six Hura residents, four of whom were schoolteachers in the Negev, had been arrested on suspicion of disseminating Islamic State doctrine in the locality and in schools there. They reportedly even planned to join the radical Islamic organization.