Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 571-575

First online:

Ritual female genital surgery among bedouin in Israel

  • Abed AsaliAffiliated withKupat Holim Clinic
  • , Naif KhamaysiAffiliated withKupat Holim Clinic
  • , Yunis AburabiaAffiliated withKupat Holim Clinic
  • , Simha LetzerAffiliated withDepartment of Gynecology, Soroka, Medical Center
  • , Buteina HalihalAffiliated withDepartment of Social Work, Soroka Medical Center
  • , Moshe Sadovsky
  • , Benjamin MaozAffiliated withDivision of Psychiatry, Ben Gurion University
  • , R. H. BelmakerAffiliated withDivision of Psychiatry, Ben Gurion University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Ritual female genital operations are common in many parts of the world, with varying degrees of mutilation from clitoridectomy and removal of the labia to removal of the clitoral prepuce. Interviews of 21 Bedouin women in southern Israel revealed the practice to be normative in several tribes. However, physical examination of 37 young women from those tribes at a gynecological clinic revealed only small scars on the labia in each woman. Bedouin in southern Israel may offer a model of evolution of female circumcision into a nonmutilative ritual incision.

Key words

female circumcision clitoris genital surgery clitoridectomy labia majora labia minora Bedouin