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October 28, 2014 1:55 pm

Court Slaps $300K Fine on Israeli Bedouin Over Viral Facebook Video of Sheikh Dancing at Jewish Wedding

avatar by Dave Bender

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Israeli Bedouin story 2. Photo Screenshot

Israeli Bedouin story 2. Photo Screenshot.

A new desert storm is brewing up in the online Arab world, this time over a viral video of an Israeli Bedouin sheikh filmed celebrating at an orthodox Jewish wedding, Israel’s Ch. 2 News said Tuesday.

A Bedouin university student from the Negev village of Hurah shared a video on his Facebook pages showing his clan’s sheikh dancing and celebrating with other family and guests at the affair. Following criticism of the video, however, the sheikh turned to traditional religious authorities, who sentenced the young man to a 1.2 million shekel ($319,000) fine.

“They handed down a penalty as if I’d murdered five people!” the flabbergasted nursing student said. “The video had been online for ages,” he said, “so, all in all, all I did was share it,” the youth said, astonished at the uproar, and added that he was fearful for his safety.

After sharing the clip, and adding a hearty “Blessings and success!” hundreds of others watched the festive event, although many – including the sheikh – were less than amused at the perceived disrespect, not to mention sharing in a joyous Jewish occasion.

Many viewers attacked the sheikh for daring to attend a Jewish wedding, and criticized his general conduct.

The offended sheikh turned to the Bedouin “Haq Al-Arab” Court, and filed a lawsuit against the student on the grounds that he had hurt his dignity and reputation and made “‹”‹him the laughingstock of the community.

On Sunday, a court judge came to the home of the defendant, who was at school, and asked his father whether he was willing to apologize for the incident. The father explained that his son acted innocently and apologized in his name.

Israeli Bedouin story. Photo Screenshot

Israeli Bedouin story. Photo Screenshot.

But his pleas and apology didn’t help: to the father’s amazement, the judges then sentenced his son to pay the hefty fine after he was found guilty of violating the dancing sheikh’s dignity.

“I was shocked when I heard the sentence,” the student said.

Even after his father’s apology, however, under Bedouin law, the family has no right to appeal the sentence, and have no choice but to pay the disproportionate amount of compensation.

“Where will I get that kind of money?” the youth told the reporter. “Maybe I did something stupid, but we are in 2014. I’m not the only one who spread this video and I do not know the photographer, as many claim.”

“The problem is that there’s a co-signer on the fine who attended the trial, who is the one to collect the money,” the youth explained. “I fear for my life if I do not pay up. I’m afraid there will be threats against my family.”

State agencies, including the police, are loathe to get involved in issues of inter-Bedouin law; it’s a sensitive, and potentially explosive issue. The traditional Bedouin legal system has no recourse for appeal. Most Bedouins are committed to the system and are afraid to go against it, fearing that opposition would hurt the Bedouin tradition, and they themselves could be targeted for non-payment of damages or fines.

A source in the Bedouin sector said of the issue that, “It’s time that the state intervenes and stops this joke called ‘Haq “‹”‹Al-Arab.’ There are courts in Israel, and they alone are supposed to be the only jurisdiction in the State of Israel.”

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  • Hillel

    The title (and not only) is misleading. This is of course not a Sharia court but rather a traditional Bedouin forum. There is a huge difference between them and it’s better if people who don’t know the basics of Israeli and Arab cultures would learn a bit before writing.

  • bea green JP BA

    I thought Bedouins were decent, honorable, tolerant people.
    Please prove me right and cancel the fine.

    Thank you,


  • Ilonka Stille

    unfortunately this is an example on how it is nearly impossible to have a multi-cultural society. It is not RACE, which I mean but CULTURE. It just does not work.

  • Robert Davis

    Of course the State should step in and come up with a fine 6-10 times as high to the bedouin authority to show who is the dominant Court in Israel. If they do not cancel the fine to the young sheikh then the beduin authority will have to pay a fine 10 times higher or see all of the State facilities such as water,electricity etc.cut off.Israel’s Authority is not sufficiently respected by these people.

  • Fred Chalfin

    This is a bad precedent. Imagine if all of our leaders and politicians SUED the reporters or the people that recorded them doing and saying stupid things. What would we do for entertainment?

  • Paul Cerar

    You should have kept this story a secret, because it gives people ideas, and ideas have consequences. I can imagine some Hypocrite sharia court in Canada claiming to have the same authority.

    Paul Cerar
    Toronto, Canada

    • Robert Davis

      Sharia courts should have no authority at all in western countries. If they try their hand they should get very high fines and be deported. When is the West going to start defending its rights? when it is too late?

      • Paul Cerar

        In Canada left-wing fascist Communists are collaborating with right-wing fascist Islamists. Hell calls to Hell.

        Anyone who speaks against Hypocrite fascism is labelled a racist and an Islamophobe, and subject to hate-crime accusations and lawfare.

  • Howie Subnick

    A student gets a serious fine because he had something to do with a video of a Bedouin Sheikh dancing at a Jewish wedding. Lets look at this closely. Maybe the Sheikh was out of step with the music, it’s possible. Maybe, just maybe he did not like Kosher food. It’s possible. Maybe the “kazatska” was not his type of dance. It’s possible. What I think the real truth is, they wanted him to do the bottle dance and he refused, thinking his “sheet” would get tangled in his feet. He should go back to the desert, mind his sheep and keep a smile on their faces (the sheep that is).

  • Just another example of how deep the current of Muslim hatred against Jews really is. Weddings, where happiness is supposed to be the word of the day, are political minefields. In the world of YouTube this one exploded!

  • citizenstat

    I am flabbergasted and near despair!! Is there no way we can help alleviate the poisonous pressure that seems to automatically descend on any Middle East non-Jew who dares feel friendship and affection for a Jew?

  • Dov Stein

    Are the Beduiins loyal?

  • art

    The fact that the Sheikh participated in the joy of the wedding is a good thing. It shows that on a personal level there can be and IS sharing and acceptance. The Sheikh and the families should be saluted and honored for their friendships. Isn’t peaceful co existence what we are striving for?? Aren’t we hoping to live together in peace??

  • Dale

    Correct if I’m wrong. The Sheikh goes to a Jewish wedding, has a great time. Video of this fun night is put on you tube and then reposted. The Sheikh, being “outed”, gets the so called court to punish the reposter because now everyone knows and is laughing at him. In other words, if I make a complete ass of myself at a party and it gets videoed and put on you tube, then I can go to the court and get PAID for being a complete ass? Now that’s the kind of court through which one can make a bundle!!

  • Justin

    Interesting story… but where’s the YouTube link? I want to see the sheikh! 🙂

  • Sofia B

    These people live in dark ages, in dark caves, imagine fining a nurse student $319,000 for this ridiculous innocent joyful occasion of a Jewish Wedding.

    What else can one possibly add to this? Why not a zillion, I am amazed that he is still alive.

    This is their form of civilization? What a laugh, but its not funny.