This qualitative study presents the experiences of social workers whose clients are the inhabitants of unrecognised Bedouin Arab villages in Israel. It used in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with 25 participants, recruited by the snowball method. These social workers reported that they are caught between their personal and professional values, on the one hand, and employer regulations, government policy and government law, on the other – which greatly limits their ability to fulfil their professional role. The social workers also comment that they are working in a ‘grey area’ in which the government’s policy is unclear. This adds another layer of complexity to their work and reveals the differential implementation of critical social work principles by social workers with different cultural identities.