Sami Alkarnawi, an Arab-Israeli Bedouin businessman and owner of five hotels in Israel, has offered free accommodations for 3,000 displaced Israelis from communities adjacent to Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
At least 22 Israelis from the Bedouin community were killed in the unprecedented Hamas assault that began on Oct. 7. In addition, at least seven Bedouin Israeli citizens are still listed as missing.
Alkarnawi, who hails from the Bedouin town Tel Arad, currently runs several hotels in Mitzpe Ramon in the center of the Negev Desert, located next to Israel's scenic Ramon Crater.
He decided to assist fellow Israelis without any financial assistance from state authorities.
He said that demand for accommodations for displaced Israelis is soaring and currently exceeding the capacity of his hotels.
"I get 400 WhatsApp messages a day from people who want a room, but everything's full at the moment," Alkarnawi revealed.
The Bedouin hotel entrepreneur admitted that he had a feeling something bad was about to happen a week before Hamas attacked Israel. However, he believed the attack would come from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah in the north.
"A week before the war started, I sensed that something was brewing and on Thursday I told a friend about it. I told him: 'I can feel a war coming either from Lebanon or from Hezbollah.' I didn't mention Gaza and he said 'relax, we have a good army and good intelligence services'..." Alkarnawi recalled.
Once he realized the magnitude of the Hamas attack, Alkarnawi began offering assistance to affected Israeli communities close to the Gaza Strip.
"About two hours after the rocket fire started, I realized that we were facing a very serious attack and we started offering hotel accommodation to people in the south. I wrote a message on facebook saying: come and take refuge with us for free, we have 5 hotels available,” he explained.
Alkarnawi is one of more than 200,000 Bedouin Israelis who live in the Negev Desert in southern Israel.
While military service is not mandatory for Bedouin Israelis, individuals from the Bedouin community volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and often perform critical roles in tracker units across southern Israel.
Bedouin Israeli soldiers are considered experts in desert warfare and are highly skilled in preventing smuggling and other criminal activities on the border between Egypt and the Israeli Negev Desert.
On Oct. 7, IDF Bedouin soldiers fought heroically against the invading Hamas terrorists and prevented them from penetrating even further into the Jewish state. In many cases, the local IDF units were heavily outnumbered by the far larger number of Hamas terrorists.
In one case, Bedouin Israeli IDF officer Lt.-Col. M. and his five soldiers succeeded in holding off some 30 Hamas terror operatives for over an hour outside the gates of a local IDF base.
Putting their lives on the line, these Bedouin IDF soldiers diligently worked to fend off the terror until the IDF troops could mobilize larger units to arrive and repel the Hamas invasion.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.