​Dr. Havatzelet Yahel is a Lecturer at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. From 2015-2017, she served as a Kreitman Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Ben-Gurion Institute, and as a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yahel received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her doctoral dissertation in historical geography is titled "The Policy of the Israeli Government and State Authorities Regarding the Negev Bedouin: 1947 – 1989". She completed her MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government after receiving the Israel Wexner Fellowship for excellence in the public sector. She holds a BA in Economy and an LLB in Law from Tel-Aviv University.

Before joining The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism, Yahel was the Deputy to the Southern District Attorney (Civil Matters) at the Ministry of Justice in Israel. She also was the founder and director of the Land Department. As a lawyer and litigator, she represented the State of Israel in high profile court cases and served as a member in many policy-making forums in her field. In addition, Yahel was nominated as an advisor to the Goldberg Commission whose mission was to present a solution to the land and settlement conflicts between the State and the Negev Bedouins.

Yahel is a member of the Israeli Bar Association; a board member of the International Committee of Regional Museums (ICOM) and editor of its newsletter; the Head of the Steering Committee for the establishment of a Cultural Heritage Center for the Galilee Bedouin; founder and board member of Hagshama Initiative for the Empowerment of Shibli-Um el-Ganem Bedouin Villages in the Galilee.

Yahel's diverse academic and professional background is reflected in her interdisciplinary and comparative research approach and publications.


Research Fields:

» Legal History

» Historical Geography

» Public policy

» Land Regimes, Laws and Policies

» Space and Settlements of Minorities and Peripheral Communities

» Indigenous Communities

» Jewish Indigeneity and Zionism

» Bedouin of the Negev


Selected publications:

  1. Emir Galilee, Havatzelet Yahel, and Gal Oren. (Accepted). "Our forest-our home": leisure and tourism among Bedouin minority in southern Israel" Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change.​
  2. Emir Galilee, Havatzelet Yahel, and Gal Oren. 2021.דפוסי הפנאי של האוכלוסיה הבדווית בנגב: יער להב כמקרה מבחן Leisure Patterns of Bedouin in Lahav Forest. Ecology and Environment 12(2) (Hebrew).
  3. Havatzelet Yahel. 2021 תכנון יישובים לבדואים בנגב בשלושת העשורים הראשונים להקמת מדינת ישראל Settlement Planning for the Negev Bedouin in the First Three Decades of Israel. Horizons in Geography 99: 163-185 (Hebrew).
  4. Havatzelet Yahel, Rachel Katoshevski, and Emir Galilee. 2021. National Hiking Trails: Regularization, Statutory Planning and Legislation, Land Use Policy 108.
  5. Havatzelet Yahel and Atef Abu-Ajaj. 2021. Tribalism, Religion, and the State in Bedouin society: between conservation and change. Strategic Assessment 24(2).
  6. Havatzelet Yahel. 2021. Rural or Urban? Planning Bedouin Settlements. Middle Eastern Studies 57(4): 606-624.
  7. Havatzelet Yahel. 2021. The Negev Bedouin as a De-Legitimization Tool, Israel Affairs 27(1): 121-143.
  8. Havatzelet Yahel. 2021. Israel and International Law: The Indigenous Concept in Supreme Court Rulings. Israel Studies 26(1): 172-195.
  9. Havatzelet Yahel. 2019. The Conflict over Land Ownership and Unauthorized Construction in the Negev. Contemporary Review of the Middle East 6(3-4): 352-369.
  10. Havatzelet Yahel, The Jewish People and Indigenous Resilience. Editors David Danto and Masood Zangeneh. Global Indigenous Mental Health. Springer (forthcoming)
  11. Havatzelet Yahel. 2017. Beyond the Letter of the Law: Process to Formulate a Compromise in the Negev Bedouin Ownership Claims in the 1970s. Iyunim Bitkumat Israel (studies in Israeli and modern Jewish society). 38: 84-127. (Hebrew).
  12. Havatzelet YahelPI and Ruth KarkC. 2017. Land and Settlement of Israel's Negev Bedouin: Official (Ad-Hoc) Steering Committees, 1948–1980. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 44.3: 1-26.
  13. Havatzelet Yahel. 2018. Bedouin Settlement Proposals in Pre and Early Days of the State of Israel. Israel 25: 1- 29 (Hebrew).
  14. Havatzelet YahelPI, Ruth KarkC and Noam PerriC. 2017. Multiculturalism and Ethnographic Museums in Israel: The Case of a Regional Bedouin Museum. Editors Stanko Pelc and Miha Koderman. Nature, Tourism and Ethnicity as Drivers of (De)Marginalization. Springer. Cham. Pp. 179-199. 
  15. Havatzelet YahelPI, Ruth KarkC and Seth FrantzmnC. 2017. Negev Bedouin and Indigenous People: A Comparative Review. Editors Raghubir Chand, Etienne Nel and Stanko Pelc. Societies, globalization, and marginalization: Marginal Regions in the 21st Century. Springer. Cham. Pp. 121-144.
  16. Havatzelet Yahel. 2017. Illegal but Pay Up: the allocation of plots of land in the Negev to polygamous families. Planning. 13: 204-211 (Hebrew).
  17. Havatzelet Yahel. 2017. The Bedouin and the State of Israel: The Conflict over the Negev Lands. The Forest. 17: 54-66 (Hebrew).
  18. Havatzelet YahelPI and Ruth KarkC. 2016. The Resettlement of the Negev Bedouin as Part of the Peace Treaty with Egypt. Horizons in Geography. 90: 64-91.
  19. Havatzelet YahelPI and Ruth KarkC. 2016. The Bedouin in the Negev in the 1948 War. Horizons in Geography. 88: 116-135.
  20. Havatzelet YahelPI and Ruth KarkC. 2016. Reasoning from History: Israel's 'Peace Law' and the Resettlement of Tel Malhata Bedouin". Israel Studies. 21.2: 102-132.
  21. Havatzelet Yahel. 2015. Indigenous People and Demography: The Complex Relation Between Identity and Statistics. Review. Geography Research Forum. 35: 153-155.
  22. Havatzelet YahelPI and Ruth KarkC 2015. Israel Negev Bedouin during the 1948 War: Departure and Return. Israel Affairs. 21.1: 48-97.
  23. Seth J. FrantzmanPI, Havatzelet YahelPI, Ruth KarkC. 2012. Contested Indigeneity: The Development of an Indigenous Discourse on the Bedouin of the Negev, Israel. Israel Studies. 17.1: 78-104.
  24. Havatzelet YahelPI, Ruth KarkC and Seth J. FrantzmanC. 2012. Are the Negev Bedouin an Indigenous People? Middle East Quarterly. 19.7: 3-14.
  25. Havatzelet Yahel. 2012. Bedouin Land Ownership Claims - New Judgments. Reshimot BeNose HaBedouim (Bedouin Notes). 41: 7-17 (Hebrew).
  26. Havatzelet Yahel PI and Cemelli de AztlanC. 2007. Legal Infrastructure for Nation Building: A Resource for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribal Leaders. HUNAP Project. Harvard University. Cambridge.
  27. Havatzelet Yahel. 2006. Land Settlement in the Negev. Reshimot BeNose HaBedouim (Bedouin Notes). 38: 45-60 (Hebrew).
  28. Havatzelet Yahel. 2006. Land Disputes between the Negev Bedouin and Israel. Israel Studies. 11.2: 1-22.​


Selected Courses Taught:

  • » Israel's Policy towards the Negev Bedouin, Master's, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

  • » The Legal System in Israel, Bachelor's, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

  • » Historical Geography in Israel

  • » The Negev Bedouin: Land and Settlement, Bachelor's, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    • »​ Development and Settlement in the Negev, BA, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev​