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Disappearance of Female Genital Mutilation from the Bedouin Population of Southern Israel


RH Belmaker, MD, Beer-Sheba Mental Health Center, PO Box 4600, Beer-Sheba, Israel. Tel: (972 8) 640-1602; Fax: (972 8) 640-1621; E-mail:


Introduction.  Recently, clinicians in Southern Israel perceived that the practice of female genital mutilation had disappeared entirely in the Bedouin population. We previously studied the prevalence of this practice in 1995.

Aim.  We decided to survey again the Bedouin population focusing on those tribes previously reported to perform this practice.

Methods.  Eighty percent of the interviews were done by an Arabic-speaking psychiatrist and 20% were done by an Arabic speaking nurse in the gynecologic clinic of a large Bedouin township or the gynecologic clinic of a smaller Bedouin township. Women were asked if they would be willing to answer a few questions about their past and if they were willing to have the gynecologist, with no additional procedure, note whether any operation had been performed on their genitalia.

Main Outcome Measures.  Physical examination by gynecologist and an oral questionnaire.

Results.  One hundred and thirty two women were examined. No cases of any scarring of the kind reported in the previous study were found on physical examination.

Conclusions.  FGM has apparently disappeared over 15 years in a population in which it was once prevalent. Halila S, Belmaker RH, Rabia YA, Froimovici M, and Applebaum J. Disappearance of female genital mutilation from the bedouin population of Southern Israel. J Sex Med 2009;6:70–73.

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