Beersheba
Overview
 
Beersheba is the largest city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 in the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 desert of southern Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300.

Beersheba grew in importance in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 built a regional police station
Police station
A police station or station house is a building which serves to accommodate police officers and other members of staff. These buildings often contain offices and accommodation for personnel and vehicles, along with locker rooms, temporary holding cells and interview/interrogation rooms.- Facilities...

 there. The Battle of Beersheba was part of a wider British offensive in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 to Beersheba.
Encyclopedia
Beersheba is the largest city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 in the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 desert of southern Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300.

Beersheba grew in importance in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 built a regional police station
Police station
A police station or station house is a building which serves to accommodate police officers and other members of staff. These buildings often contain offices and accommodation for personnel and vehicles, along with locker rooms, temporary holding cells and interview/interrogation rooms.- Facilities...

 there. The Battle of Beersheba was part of a wider British offensive in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 to Beersheba. In 1947, Bir Seb'a , as it was known, was envisioned as part of the Arab state in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Following the declaration of Israel's independence, the Egyptian army amassed its forces in Beersheba as a strategic and logistical base. In October 1948, the city was conquered by the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

.

Beersheba has grown considerably since then. A large portion of the population is made up of Jews who immigrated from Arab countries
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

 after 1948, and has been significantly boosted since 1990 by immigrants from Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. With the influx of Russian immigrants, chess became a major sport in Beersheba. The city is now Israel's national chess center, home to more chess grandmasters than any city in the world.

Etymology

There are several etymologies
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 for the origin of the name "Beersheba":
  • The oath of Abraham
    Abraham
    Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

     and Abimelech
    Abimelech
    Abimelech was a common name of the Philistine kings.Abimelech was most prominently the name of a king of Gerar who is mentioned in two of the three wife-sister narratives in Genesis...

     (well of the oath)
  • The seven wells dug by Isaac
    Isaac
    Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

     (seven wells), though only three or four have been identified
  • The oath of Isaac and Abimelech (well of the oath)
  • The seven ewes that sealed Abraham and Abimelech's oath (well of the seven).


Be'er is the Hebrew word for well; sheva could mean "seven" or "oath" (from the Hebrew word shvu'a).

Antiquity

Human settlement in the area dates from the Copper Age. The inhabitants lived in caves, crafting metal tools and raising cattle. Findings unearthed at Tel Be'er Sheva
Tel Be'er Sheva
Tel Be'er Sheva is an archeological site in southern Israel believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Beersheba. It lies to the east of the modern city of Beersheba and to the east of the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva.-Biblical Beersheba:...

, an archaeological site
Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved , and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record.Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a 'site' can vary widely,...

 a few kilometers northeast of modern day Beersheba, suggest the region has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC
4th millennium BC
The 4th millennium BC saw major changes in human culture. It marked the beginning of the Bronze Age and of writing.The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia...

. The city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

Israelite era

The town was founded by the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

s during the 10th century BC
10th century BC
The 10th century BC started the first day of 1000 BC and ended the last day of 901 BC.- Overview :This period followed the Bronze Age collapse in the Near East, and the century saw the Early Iron Age take hold there. The Greek Dark Ages which had come about in 1200 BC continued. The Neo-Assyrian...

, on the site of what is today referred to as Tel Be'er Sheva
Tel Be'er Sheva
Tel Be'er Sheva is an archeological site in southern Israel believed to be the remains of the biblical town of Beersheba. It lies to the east of the modern city of Beersheba and to the east of the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva.-Biblical Beersheba:...

, after the land was conquered by King David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

. The ruins of the original Israelite settlement remain largely intact.

The site was probably chosen due to the abundance of water, as evidenced by the numerous wells in the area. According to the Bible, the wells were dug by Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 when they arrived there. The streets were laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, commercial, military, and residential use. According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories actually settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.

Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in connection with Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 the Patriarch and his pact with Abimelech
Abimelech
Abimelech was a common name of the Philistine kings.Abimelech was most prominently the name of a king of Gerar who is mentioned in two of the three wife-sister narratives in Genesis...

. Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33). Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 had his dream about a stairway to heaven after leaving Beersheba. (Genesis 28:10–15 and 46:1–7). Beersheba was the territory of the tribe of Shimon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel
Jezebel (Bible)
Jezebel was a princess, identified in the Hebrew Book of Kings as the daughter of Ethbaal, King of Tyre and the wife of Ahab, king of north Israel. According to genealogies given in Josephus and other classical sources, she was the great-aunt of Dido, Queen of Carthage.The Hebrew text portrays...

 ordered him killed (I Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 19:3). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort for his campaign against the Amalek
Amalek
The Amalekites are a people mentioned a number of times in the Hebrew Bible. They are considered to be descended from an ancestor Amalek....

ites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Amos
Amos (prophet)
Amos is a minor prophet in the Old Testament, and the author of the Book of Amos. Before becoming a prophet, Amos was a sheep herder and a sycamore fig farmer. Amos' prior professions and his claim "I am not a prophet nor a son of a prophet" indicate that Amos was not from the school of prophets,...

 mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14). Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

 of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the slaves returned from Babylon, the town was resettled.

Roman and Byzantine era

During the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and later Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 conquest of Palestine in the 7th century.

Ottoman era

The Turkish Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, who had controlled Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 since the 16th century, took no interest in Beersheba until the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Beersheba was portrayed by European pilgrims
Pilgrims
Pilgrims , or Pilgrim Fathers , is a name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States...

 as a barren stretch of land with a well and a handful of Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

s living nearby. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Ottomans built a police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 station in Beersheba in order to keep the Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 in check. They built roads and a number of small buildings from local materials which are still standing today. A town plan was created by a Swiss and a German architect, which called for a grid street pattern
Grid plan
The grid plan, grid street plan or gridiron plan is a type of city plan in which streets run at right angles to each other, forming a grid...

, a pattern which can still be seen today in Beersheba's Old City. All houses built during that period were of one storey, and the two-storey police station towered above them. Most of the residents at the time were Arabs from Hebron and the Gaza area, although Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 also began settling in the city, and a slew of Bedouin abandoned their nomadic lives and built homes in Beersheba.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Turks built a military railroad
Railway to Beersheba
The Railway to Beersheba is the common name for the railroad which currently stretches from central Israel to the Zin Factories in southern Israel, with spurs to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station, Ramat Hovav and the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa...

 from the Hejaz line to Beersheba, inaugurating the station on October 30, 1915. The celebration was attended by the Turkish army commander Jamal Pasha
Ahmed Djemal
Djemal Pasha or Ahmed Djemal , was a Young Turk and member of the Three Pashas. Ahmed Djemal was also Mayor of Istanbul.- Biography :...

, along with senior government officials. The train line was active until the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 took over the region.

British Mandate era

Beersheba played an important role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
The Sinai and Palestine Campaigns took place in the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. A series of battles were fought between British Empire, German Empire and Ottoman Empire forces from 26 January 1915 to 31 October 1918, when the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Ottoman Empire and...

 in World War I. On October 31, 1917, three months after taking Rafah
Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

, General Allenby's troops breached the line of Turkish defense between Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 and Beersheba. 800 soldiers of the Australian 4th and 12th Regiments
12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)
The 12th Light Horse Regiment was a light horse regiment of the Australian Army. It was originally raised in 1915 for service during the First World War, the regiment served in the Middle East against the Turks before being disbanded in 1919...

 of the 4th Light Horse Brigade under Brigadier General William Grant
William Grant (General)
Brigadier General William Grant CMG, DSO and Bar, MBE was an Australian Army colonel and temporary Brigadier General in World War I.-Early life and career:...

, with only horses and bayonets, charged the Turkish trenches, overran them and captured the wells of Beersheba in what has become known as the "last successful cavalry charge in British military history." On the edge of Beersheba's Old City is a Commonwealth cemetery containing the graves of Australian and British soldiers. The town also contains a memorial park dedicated to them
Australian Soldier Park
The Australian Soldier Park, Beersheba, Israel is dedicated for the memory of the Australian Light Horse regiment of the British Army, that conquered the town from the Turkish Empire on World War I....

.

Beersheba was a major administrative center during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine. A railway was constructed between Rafah and Beersheba in October 1917; it opened to the public in May 1918, serving the Negev and settlements south of Mount Hebron. In 1928, at the beginning of the tension between the Jews and the Arabs over Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, and wide-scale rioting which left 133 Jews dead and 339 wounded, many Jews abandoned Beersheba, although some returned occasionally. After an Arab attack on a Jewish bus in 1936, which escalated into the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, the remaining Jews left.

1948 war

The 1947 UN Partition Plan included Beersheba in the territory allotted to the proposed Arab state as the city's population of 4,000 was primarily Arab. The Egyptian army
Egyptian Army
The Egyptian Army is the largest service branch within the Egyptian Armed Forces and holds power in the current Egyptian government. It is estimated to number around 379,000, in addition to 479,000 reservists for a total of 858,000 strong. The modern army was created in the 1820s, and during the...

 was stationed in Beersheba in May 1948.

During the War of Independence of Israel
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 gave the green light for the city to be conquered. The order called for the "conquest of Beersheba, occupation of outposts around it, [and] demolition of most of the town." Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 bombing raids began during the night of October 18/19, 1948. The Arab residents fled en masse the next day on foot and in buses. More bombing raids followed that night, and on October 21 at 4:00 in the morning, the 8th Brigade's 89th battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 and the Negev Brigade
Negev Brigade
The 12th Negev Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade that served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. It was commanded by Nahum "Sergei" Sarig and consisted of four Palmach battalions...

's 7th and 9th battalions moved in, some of the troops advancing from Mishmar HaNegev
Mishmar HaNegev
Mishmar HaNegev is a kibbutz in the northern fringe of the Negev desert in Israel. It is located on Road 264, about 2 kilometres south of the Bedouin city of Rahat and around 10 km from Beersheba and is part of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council...

 junction, 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) north of Beersheba, others from the Turkish train station and Hatzerim
Hatzerim
Hatzerim is a kibbutz located 8 kilometers west of Beersheba in the Negev desert in Israel. It is named after the Bible , mentionning a site nearby: "the Avvites who lived in farmyards as far as Gaza".-History:...

. By 09:45, the Egyptian forces were surrounded and Beersheba was in Israeli hands. Around 120 Egyptian soldiers were taken prisoner, and the remaining civilians, 200 men and 150 women and children, were taken to the police fort. On October 25, the women, children, disabled, and elderly were driven by truck to the Gaza border. The Egyptian soldiers were interned in POW camps. The men lived in the local mosque and were put to work cleaning but when it was discovered that they were supplying information to the Egyptian army, they were also deported. Looting
Looting
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

 on the part of Israeli troops was harshly criticized by David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 and Dov Shafrir, the first Custodian of Absentees Property.

State of Israel

In the 1950s, Beersheba expanded northward. Soroka hospital
Soroka Medical Center
Soroka Medical Center is a hospital in Beersheba, Israel. It is the largest medical center in southern region of the country, and the fourth largest in Israel with approximately 1000 beds. It is owned by Clalit, the largest Health Maintenance Organization in Israel. Soroka services diverse ethnic...

 opened its doors in 1960, and the Negev University, later renamed Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev   is a university in Beersheba, Israel, established in 1969. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has a current enrollment of 17,400 students, and is one of Israel's fastest growing universities....

, was established in 1970. The city is surrounded by a number of satellite towns including Omer
Omer, Israel
Omer is a town in the South District of Israel, bordering Beersheba. It is located on Highway 60, between Beersheba and the Shoket Junction. Pini Badash has served as head of its local council since 1990....

, Lehavim
Lehavim
Lehavim is a town in the Southern District of Israel, in the northern Negev desert. Founded in 1983, it is located 15 km north of Beersheba. In 2009, the population was 6,000. -History:...

 and Meitar
Meitar
Meitar is a small local council north-east of Beersheba, in Israel's Southern District. The town lies on Highway 60 just south of the Green Line on the southern edge of Mount Hebron, alongside the Yatir Forest. Meitar was founded in 1984....

, and the Bedouin towns of Rahat
Rahat
Rahat is a predominantly Bedouin city in the South District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 51,700...

, Tel as-Sabi and Lakiya
Lakiya
Lakiya, or Laqye is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , the population of Lakiya was 7,600 in December 2004...

.

Geography

Beersheba is located on the northern edge of the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 desert 115 kilometres (71.5 mi) south-east of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 and 120 kilometres (74.6 mi) south-west of Jerusalem. The city is located on the main route from the center and north of the country to Eilat in the far south. The Valley of Beer Sheva has been populated for thousands of years due to the presence of water which flows from the Hebron hills in the winter and is stored underground in vast quantities. The main river in Beersheba is Nahal Beersheva, a wadi
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

 which floods in the winter. The Kovshim and Katef streams are other important wadis which pass through the city.

Climate

Beersheba has an arid climate (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSh) with Mediterranean
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 influences. The city has both characteristics of Mediterranean and desert climates. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are cool and rainy. In summer, the temperature is high in daytime and nighttime with an average high of 32.3 °C (90.1 °F) and an average low of 19.9 °C (67.8 °F). In winter, the temperature are cool and the weather is rainy and snow is very rare. Winters have an average high of 17.7 °C (63.9 °F) and average low of 8 °C (46.4 °F).

Precipitation in summer are rare, the most rainfalls come in winter between September to May, but the annually amount is low, with 204.1 millimetres (8 in) each year. Sandstorms, haze and fog are common especially in winter, as a result of the high humidity.

Demographics

Beersheba had a population of 185,400 by the end of 2006, compared to 110,800 in a survey conducted 20 years earlier. In the 1990s, the population was substantially increased by a large influx of Russian and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n Jews. In 2001, the ethnic make-up of the city was 98.9% Jewish and other non-Arab, with no significant Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 population (see Population groups in Israel
Demographics of Israel
The State of Israel has a population of approximately 7,798,600 inhabitants as of September 2011. 75.3% of them are Jewish , 20.5% are Arabs , while the remaining 4.3% are defined as "others" The State of Israel has a population of approximately 7,798,600 inhabitants as of September 2011. 75.3% of...

). In 2001, there were 86,500 males and 91,400 females living in Beersheba. The population breakdown by age was 31.8% for 19 years old or younger, 17.4% for 20–29 year olds, 19.6% for 30–44 year olds, 15.8% for 45–59 year olds, 4.0% for 60–64 year olds, and 11.4% for 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 2.9%.

Many people live in Beersheba for short periods of time, e.g. while studying at the university or working at the nearby army bases. According to CBS, Beersheba had 61,016 salaried workers and 3,010 self-employed
Self-employment
Self-employment is working for one's self.Self-employed people can also be referred to as a person who works for himself/herself instead of an employer, but drawing income from a trade or business that they operate personally....

 citizens in 2000. Salaried workers earned an average monthly wage of 5,223 NIS
Israeli new sheqel
The Israeli New Shekel is the currency of the State of Israel. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot...

. Men earned an average monthly wage of NIS 6,661 (a real change of 5.2%) compared to NIS 3,760 for females (a real change of 3.9%). Self-employed persons had an average income of NIS 6,533. A total of 4,719 persons received unemployment benefits, and 26,469 persons received income supplements.

In 1982, Israel airlifted a large part of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel, and many settled in Beersheba. There are now approximately 10,000 Ethiopian Israelis in the city, with a community center
Community centre
Community centres or community centers or jumping recreation centers are public locations where members of a community tend to gather for group activities, social support, public information, and other purposes. They may sometimes be open for the whole community or for a specialised group within...

 built in the style of the thatched tukuls of Ethiopia.

The historic mosque in Beersheba was renovated and used as a municipal museum, as the city had no significant Arab population, but Muslim groups in the vicinity are negotiating for its reopening as a functioning mosque.

Economy

The largest employers in Beersheba are the municipality, Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

, Ben-Gurion University and the Soroka Medical Center. There are also a number of electronics and chemical plants including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. , is an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. It specializes in generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients...

 in and around the city. A large high-tech park is also being built near the Be'er Sheva North Railway Station
Be'er Sheva North Railway Station
Be'er Sheva North Railway Station is an Israel Railways station in Beersheba. It is a stop on the intercity line from Tel Aviv and Nahariya, and the terminus of the Beersheba - Dimona spur....

. A major Israel Aerospace Industries complex is located in the main industrial zone, north of Highway 60
Highway 60 (Israel)
Highway 60 is a north-south intercity road in Israel and the West Bank that stretches from Beersheba to Nazareth.-Route:The route is also known as the "Route of the Patriarchs" since it follows the path of the ancient highway that runs along the length of the central watershed, and which...

.

There are three industrial zones on the southeastern side of the city – Makhteshim, Emek Sara and Kiryat Yehudit – and a light industry zone between Kiryat Yehudit and the Old City. A high-tech park is located near Omer
Omer, Israel
Omer is a town in the South District of Israel, bordering Beersheba. It is located on Highway 60, between Beersheba and the Shoket Junction. Pini Badash has served as head of its local council since 1990....

. A Science Park
Science park
A research park, science park, or science and technology park is an area with a collection of buildings dedicated to scientific research on a business footing. There are many approximate synonyms for "science park", including research park, technology park, technopolis and biomedical park...

 funded by the RASHI-SACTA Foundation, Beersheba Municipality and private donors was completed in 2008. The tallest buildings in the city are the towers of the Rambam Square
Rambam Square
The Rambam Square Towers are a complex of two residential skyscrapers in the Israeli city of Beersheba. Rambam Square 1 was completed in 2001, and is 100 meters high, with 26 floors. It was the tallest tower in the city until the completion of Rambam Square 2 in 2003...

 complex. Rambam Square 2 is the tallest apartment building in Israel outside of the Gush Dan
Gush Dan
The Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area , or Gush Dan , is a metropolitan area including areas from both the Tel Aviv and the Central Districts of Israel. The area is closely linked to the city of Tel Aviv through social, economic, and cultural ties. It is located along the Israeli Mediterranean coastline...

 Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

.

Local government

The Beersheba municipality was plagued for many years by an ineffectual leadership, political problems and poor financial planning. Since 2005, attention has been focused on developing parks and infrastructure. A new youth center opened in 2005, and a new cultural centre opened in 2008. Parts of the Old City are being renovated, and after many years of financial struggle,the municipality has achieved a balanced budget. The official emblem of the municipality of Beersheba depicts an eshel (tamarisk
Tamarix
The genus Tamarix is composed of about 50-60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Eurasia and Africa...

 tree), the tree planted by Abraham according to Genesis, and the observation tower connected to the municipality building.

The mayor of Beersheba is Ruvik Danilovich
Ruvik Danilovich
Ruvik Danilovich is an Israeli politician. In 2008, he was elected mayor of Beersheba, Israel, after serving as deputy mayor under Yaakov Turner.-Career:...

, who was deputy mayor under Yaakov Turner.
Mayors of Beersheba
Name Took office Left office Years in office
1 David Tuviyahu 1950 1961 11
2 Ze'ev Zrizi 1961 1963 2
3 Eliyahu Nawi 1963 1986 23
4 Moshe Zilberman 1986 1989 3
5 Yitzhak Rager
Yitzhak Rager
Yitzhak "Ijo" Rager was an Israeli journalist, diplomat, and a Likud mayor of Beersheba.Rager was born in Cairo, though immediately after his birth, his family moved to Mandate Palestine and settled in Jerusalem...

1989 1997 8
6 David Bunfeld 1997 1998 1
7 Yaakov Turner 1998 2008 10
8 Ruvik Danilovich
Ruvik Danilovich
Ruvik Danilovich is an Israeli politician. In 2008, he was elected mayor of Beersheba, Israel, after serving as deputy mayor under Yaakov Turner.-Career:...

2008

Education

According to CBS, Beersheba has 81 schools and a student population of 33,623: 60 elementary schools with an enrollment of 17,211, and 39 high schools with an enrollment of 16,412. Of Beersheba's 12th graders, 52.7% earned a Bagrut
Bagrut
Te'udat Bagrut is the official Israeli matriculation certificate. The bagrut is similar to the British A-levels, German Abitur, French Baccalauréat, and Austrian Matura...

 matriculation certificate in 2001. The city also has several private schools and Yeshivot
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 which cater to the religious sector. In terms of higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

, Beersheba is home to one of Israel's major universities, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev   is a university in Beersheba, Israel, established in 1969. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has a current enrollment of 17,400 students, and is one of Israel's fastest growing universities....

, which is located on an urban campus in the city. Several local colleges also operate in the city, including the Kaye Academic College of Education
Kaye Academic College of Education
Kaye Academic College of Education , a leading training college located in Beersheba, Israel, offers a wide range professions related to education. The college was named after Mr. Geoffrey Kaye, its chief sponsor.- History :...

, the Sami Shamoon Academic College of Engineering and the Practical Engineering College of Beersheba. Also in the city is a Government college (מכללה למנהל), a technical college
Institute of technology
Institute of technology is a designation employed in a wide range of learning institutions awarding different types of degrees and operating often at variable levels of the educational system...

, and an art and performance college. Furthermore, the Israeli Air and Space college (Techni) is located in the city.

Neigborhoods

After Israeli independence, Beersheba became a "laboratory" for Israeli architecture
Architecture of Israel
The architecture of Israel is composed of many different styles of building brought in by those who have occupied the country over the ages, sometimes modified to suit the local climate and landscape...

. Mishol Girit, a neighborhood built in the late 1950s, was the first attempt to create an alternative to the standard public housing projects in Israel. Hashatiah (lit. "the carpet"), also known as Hashekhuna ledugma ("the model neighborhood"), was hailed by architects around the world. Today, Beersheba is divided into seventeen residential neighbourhoods in addition to the Old City and Ramot, an umbrella neighborhood of 4 sub-districts. Many of the neighbourhoods are named after letters of the Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

, which also have numerical value, but descriptive place names have been given to some of the newer neighborhoods.

Culture and tourism

Beersheba is the home base of the Israel Sinfonietta, founded in 1973. Over the years, the Sinfonietta has developed a broad repertoire of symphonic works, concerti for solo instruments and large choral productions, among them Handel's "Israel in Egypt," masses by Schubert and Mozart, Rossini's "Stabat Mater" and Vivaldi's "Gloria." World-famous artists have appeared as soloists with the Sinfonietta, including Pinhas Zuckerman, Jean-Pierre Rampal
Jean-Pierre Rampal
Jean-Pierre Louis Rampal was a French flautist. He has been personally "credited with returning to the flute the popularity as a solo classical instrument it had not held since the 18th century."-Early years:...

, Shlomo Mintz
Shlomo Mintz
Shlomo Mintz is an Israeli violin virtuoso, violist and conductor. He regularly appears with orchestras and conductors on the international scene and is heard in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world.- Awards :...

, Gary Karr
Gary Karr
Gary Karr b. November 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, is an American classical double bass virtuoso and teacher.- Biography :Although he comes from seven generations of bassists, he was not encouraged by them to go into music...

 and Paul Tortelier
Paul Tortelier
Paul Tortelier was a French cellist and composer.Tortelier was born in Paris, the son of a cabinet maker with Breton roots. He was encouraged to play the cello by his father Joseph and mother Marguerite , and at 12 he entered the Paris Conservatoire. He studied the cello there with Gérard Hekking...

. In the 1970s, a memorial commemorating fallen Israeli soldiers designed by the sculptor Danny Karavan
Dani Karavan
Dani Karavan is an Israeli sculptor best known for site specific memorials and monuments which merge into the environment, though he has made important installations as well as other significant contributions to art and architecture.- Biography :Dani Karavan's father Abraham was the chief...

 was erected on a hill north-east of the city. The Beersheba Theater opened in 1973. The Light Opera Group of the Negev, established in 1980, performs musicals in English every year.
Urban renewal projects are under way in the Old City. The Negev Museum reopened as an art museum, and an art and media center for young people was established. A new tourist and information center
Visitor center
A visitor center or centre , visitor information center, tourist information center, is a physical location that provides tourist information to the visitors who tour the place or area locally...

, Gateway to the Negev, was built. Other tourists sites in Beer-Sheva include Abraham's Well and the old Turkish train station, now the focus of development plans.

Arab-Israeli conflict

Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited Beersheba in 1979. On August 31, 2004, sixteen people were killed in two suicide bombings
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 on buses in Beersheba for which Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 claimed responsibility. On August 28, 2005, another suicide bomber attacked the central bus station, seriously injuring two security guard
Security guard
A security guard is a person who is paid to protect property, assets, or people. Security guards are usually privately and formally employed personnel...

s and 45 bystanders. In response to Operation Cast Lead
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
The Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world, was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which...

, which began on December 27, 2008, Hamas fired multiple Grad rockets from Gaza into Beersheba.

Urban development plans

As part of its Blueprint Negev
Blueprint Negev
Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project to develop the Negev region of Israel.The project aims to increase the Negev's population by 250,000 new residents, improving transportation infrastructure, adding businesses and employment opportunities, preserving water resources and protecting...

 project, the Jewish National Fund
Jewish National Fund
The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement. The JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organisation...

 is funding major redevelopment projects in Beersheba. One project is the Beersheba River Walk, a 900 acres (3.6 km²) riverfront district with green spaces, hiking trails, a 3,000-seat sports hall, a boating lake made from recycled waste water, promenades, restaurants, cafés, galleries, boat rentals, a 12,000-seat amphitheater, playgrounds, and a bridge made up of Mekorot water pipes. Four new shopping malls are planned, including a 115,000-square meter ecologically planned mall with pools for collecting rainwater and lighting generated by solar panels on the roof. It will be situated next to an 8,000-meter park with bicycle paths. The streets and homes in the Old Turkish section of Beersheba are also being restored.

Transportation

Beersheba is the central transportation hub of southern Israel, served by roads, railways and air. Beersheba is connected to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 via Highway 40
Highway 40 (Israel)
Highway 40 is a north-south intercity road in Israel. At 302 km long, it is the second longest highway in Israel, after Highway 90. The highway runs from Kfar Sava in the center of Israel to the Arabah in the south, serving as a main connection between central Israel and Be'er Sheva.-Route...

, the second longest highway in Israel, which passes to the east of the city and is called the Beersheba bypass because it allows travellers from the north to go to southern locations, avoiding the more congested city center. From west to east, the city is divided by Highway 25
Highway 25 (Israel)
Highway 25 is a rural highway in southern Israel. It begins northwest of Nahal Oz at the border with the Gaza Strip, and it passes through Netivot, Beersheba and Dimona. It continues southeast toward Arava Junction, where it meets Highway 90. Its length is estimated by the Israeli Department of...

, which connects to Ashkelon
Ashkelon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

 and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 to the northwest, and Dimona
Dimona
Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, to the south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. Its population at the end of 2007 was 33,600.-History:...

 to the east. Finally, Highway 60 connects Beersheba with Jerusalem and the Shoket Junction, and goes through the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. On the local level, a partial ring road surrounds the city from the north and east, and Road 406 (Rager Blvd.) goes through the city center from north to south.
Metrodan Beersheba
Metrodan Beersheba
Metrodan Beersheba Ltd. is an Israeli bus company. It is owned, among others, by Tour Bus. Metrodan operates bus lines within Beersheba, as the name implies....

, established in 2003, has a fleet of 90 buses and operates 19 lines in the city, most of which depart from the Beersheba Central Bus Station. These lines were formerly operated by the municipality as the 'Be'er Sheva Urban Bus Services'. Inter-city buses to and from Beersheba are operated by Egged
Egged Bus Cooperative
Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd , a cooperative owned by its members is the largest transit bus company in Israel. It provides about 55 % of public transport services throughout the country, employs 6,227 workers and has 2,861 buses for more than 928 service routes and 3,103...

, Egged Ta'avura
Egged Ta'avura
Egged Ta'avura is an Israeli bus company. It is a subsidiary of the Egged Bus Cooperative and the Ta'avura Group, and was founded by the two in 2006 from 2 other subsidiaries of Egged, following the public transportation reform and privatization in Israel in the 2000s...

 and Metropoline
Metropoline
Metropoline is an Israeli bus company, which provides bus routes from Beersheba to Tel Aviv and other destinations, mainly in the Southern District...

.

Israel Railways
Israel Railways
Israel Railways is the principal passenger railway operating company in Israel, and is responsible for all inter-city and suburban rail way passenger and freight traffic in the country. All its lines are standard gauge. The network is centered in Israel's densely populated coastal plain, from...

 operates two stations in the city that form part of the railway to Beersheba
Railway to Beersheba
The Railway to Beersheba is the common name for the railroad which currently stretches from central Israel to the Zin Factories in southern Israel, with spurs to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station, Ramat Hovav and the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa...

: the old Be'er Sheva North University
Be'er Sheva North Railway Station
Be'er Sheva North Railway Station is an Israel Railways station in Beersheba. It is a stop on the intercity line from Tel Aviv and Nahariya, and the terminus of the Beersheba - Dimona spur....

 station, adjacent to Ben Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center, and the new Be'er Sheva Central
Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station
Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station is an Israel Railways terminal in Be'er Sheva on the main intercity line from Nahariya to Be'er Sheva. The station is located in Yitzhak Ben Zvi St. near the Be'er Sheva central bus station and HaNegev Mall....

 station, adjacent to the central bus station. Between the two stations, the railway splits into two, and also continues to Dimona and the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

 factories. An extension is planned to Eilat and Arad.

The Be'er Sheva North University station is the terminus of the line to Dimona. All stations of Israel Railways can be accessed from Beersheba using transfer stations
Interchange station
An interchange station or a transfer station is a train station for more than one railway route in a public transport system, and allows passengers to change from one route to another. Transfer may occur within the same mode, or between rail modes, or to buses...

 in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 and Lod
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

. Currently, the railway line to Beersheba
Railway to Beersheba
The Railway to Beersheba is the common name for the railroad which currently stretches from central Israel to the Zin Factories in southern Israel, with spurs to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station, Ramat Hovav and the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa...

 uses a slow single-track configuration with several sharp curves limiting speed. However, its alignment is being improved and the entire line converted to dual-track. The project will be completed in 2011 and significantly decrease travel time from Tel Aviv and Haifa to Beersheba, at a cost of NIS
Israeli new sheqel
The Israeli New Shekel is the currency of the State of Israel. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot...

 1.885 billion.

Sports

Hapoel Be'er Sheva plays in the Israeli Premier League, the top tier of Israeli football
Football in Israel
Football is the most popular sport in Israel. Football as an organised sport first developed in the United Kingdom who controlled Israel during the days of the British Mandate. Israel will be hosting the UEFA U-21 Championship in 2013....

, having been promoted in the 2008–2009 Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit is the second tier in the Israeli football league system below the Premier League.-Structure:There are 16 clubs in the league. At the end of each season, the lowest-placed team are relegated to Liga Alef while the highest-placed team from Liga Alef are promoted in their place...

 season. The club has won the Israeli championship twice, in 1975 and 1976. It won the State Cup
Israel State Cup
The State Cup , is a knockout cup competition in Israeli football, run by the Israeli Football Association.The State Cup was first held in 1927–28 as the Palestine Cup...

 in 1997. Beersheba has two other local clubs, Maccabi Be'er Sheva
Maccabi Be'er Sheva F.C.
Maccabi Be'er Sheva Football Club , is an Israeli football team based in Beersheba. While not nearly as popular as their city rivals, Hapoel Be'er Sheva, the club made great strides in recent years including gaining promotion from Liga Bet to the Liga Leumit in just four seasons...

 (based in Neve Noy) and Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva
Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva F.C.
Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva was an Israeli football club based in Beersheba.-History:The club was promoted to Liga Artzit in 1998. In their first season at the second level they finished fourth...

 (based in the north of Dalet). Hapoel plays at the Vasermil Stadium
Vasermil Stadium
The Arthur Vasermil Municipal Stadium, commonly known as the Vasermil Stadium, is a football stadium in Beersheba, Israel. The stadium is designed as an open bowl , and formerly had a running track, though this has now been bricked over. The stadium is all-seated, and the capacity is 13,000.It is...

, a 14,000-capacity concrete bowl located in the Bet neighbourhood. The stadium was also used by Maccabi during their spell in Liga Leumit.

Beersheba has become a national chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 center; thanks to Soviet immigration, it is home to the largest number of chess grandmasters of any city in the world. The city hosted the World Team Chess Championship
World Team Chess Championship
The World Team Chess Championship is an international team chess event, eligible for the participation of 10 countries whose chess federations dominate their continent.-Men's team medals:-Women's team medals:-References:*...

 in 2005, and chess is taught in the city's kindergartens. The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad
38th Chess Olympiad
The 38th Chess Olympiad, organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between 12–25 November 2008, in Dresden, Germany and was won by Armenia.The 2010 Olympiad is...

 and the bronze at the 2010 Olympiad
39th Chess Olympiad
The 39th Chess Olympiad, organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, on to...

. The chess club was founded in 1973 by Eliyahu Levant, who is still the driving spirit behind it.

The city has the second largest wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

 center (AMI wrestling school) in Israel. The center is run by Leonid Shulman and has approximately 2,000 students most of whom are from Russian immigrant families since the origins of the club are in the Nahal Beka integration camp. Maccabi Be'er Sheva has a freestyle wrestling team, whilst Hapoel Be'er Sheva has a Greek-Romi wrestling team.

Cricket is played under the auspices of Israel Cricket Association
Israel Cricket Association
Israel Cricket Association is the official governing body of the sport of cricket in Israel. Israel Cricket Association is Israel's representative at the International Cricket Council and is an associate member and has been a member of that body since 1974. Its principal object is to incorporate...

. Beersheba is also home to a rugby
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 team whose senior and youth squads have won several national titles (including the recent Senior National League 2004–2005 championship). Beersheba's tennis center, which opened in 1991, features eight lighted courts, and the Be'er Sheva (Teyman) airfield is used for gliding
Gliding
Gliding is a recreational activity and competitive air sport in which pilots fly unpowered aircraft known as gliders or sailplanes using naturally occurring currents of rising air in the atmosphere to remain airborne. The word soaring is also used for the sport.Gliding as a sport began in the 1920s...

. Since 2009 Be'er Sheva is also the home for the only American Football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 team in the Negev, the Be'er Sheva Black Swarm.

Notable residents

  • Aref al-Aref
    Aref al-Aref
    Aref al-Aref was a Palestinian journalist, historian and politician who served as mayor of East Jerusalem in the 1950s.-Biography:...

    , Arab historian
  • Orna Banai
    Orna Banai
    Orna Banai is an Israeli actress, comedian and entertainer.Banai was born in Beersheba, Israel. Her father was a local judge, and her mother was an education executive for the City of Beer Sheva. Many of her relatives are successful Israeli actors and singers. The next generation of the Banai...

    , Israeli actress, comedian, and entertainer
  • Elyaniv Barda
    Elyaniv Barda
    Elyaniv Felix Barda , born December 15, 1981 in Beersheba, Israel) is an Israeli football forward and winger. Formerly a player for Israeli clubs Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv, he is currently contracted to Belgian club Racing Genk...

    , football (soccer) player
  • Zehava Ben
    Zehava Ben
    Zehava Ben is one of the most popular Israeli female vocalists in the Mizrahi music genre; the Middle Eastern-style of singing rising from Israel's Mizrahi Jewish population, dominating Israeli music in the 1990s and popular ever since.-Early life:...

    , singer
  • Avishay Braverman, professor and politician
  • Anat Draigor
    Anat Draigor
    Anat Draigor is a professional basketball player who in 2006 set the Guinness world record for the number of points scored in a single game by a female. On April 6, 2006, 46-year-old Draigor of Israel set that record by scoring 136 points in a single game...

    , basketball player
  • Ronit Elkabetz
    Ronit Elkabetz
    Ronit Elkabetz is an Israeli actress and filmmaker. She works in both Israeli and French cinema. She has won three Ophir Awards and has received a total of seven nominations.- Biography :...

    , actress
  • Zvika Hadar
    Zvika Hadar
    -Biography:Zvi Fruchter was born in Beersheba, Israel, to Romanian Jewish family. As a child, he studied piano. Early in his career, he composed numbers for musicals.He first appeared on television as "Jojo" in Ha-Comedy Store...

    , comedian and show host
  • Victor Mikhalevski
    Victor Mikhalevski
    Victor Mikhalevski is an Israeli chess grandmaster who lives in Beer Sheva. his Elo rating was 2611, making him the #7 player in Israel and the 171st-highest rated player in the world...

    , chess grandmaster
  • David Newman
    David Newman
    David Newman may refer to:*David Newman of Loughborough since 2009*David Newman , aka David "Fathead" Newman, American jazz saxophonist*David Newman , American composer...

    , professor and Dean of Social Science and Humanities, BGU
  • Ilan Ramon
    Ilan Ramon
    Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and later the first Israeli astronaut....

    , Israel's first astronaut; died in the Columbia disaster
    Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

  • Yehudit Ravitz
    Yehudit Ravitz
    Yehudit Ravitz is an Israeli singer-songwriter. She was born in Be'er Sheva, in southern Israel. As of 2010, she had released 20 albums and has been performing for nearly 20 years, also musically producing several albums for other musicians.-Music career:...

    , singer
  • Eli Zizov
    Eli Zizov
    Eli Zizov is an Israeli footballer who currently plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Zizov is of paternal Georgian Jewish descent.-Career:When he was six years old, he joined the Maccabi Tel Aviv academy...

    , football (soccer) player
  • Ze'ev Zrizi, second mayor of Beersheba
  • Almog Cohen
    Almog Cohen
    Almog Cohen is an Israeli footballer currently playing for 1. FC Nuremberg in the Bundesliga.-Career:Cohen began his career with Beitar Tubruk and signed for Maccabi Netanya in summer 2006. In February 2010, Maccabi Netanya F.C. confirmed that he was set to join 1. FC Nuremberg in the 2010 summer...

    , soccer player


Twin towns—Sister cities

The following are cities and towns with which Beersheba has a town twinning
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 agreement:
Adana
Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 (since 2001) Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 (since 2004) Cebu City
Cebu City
The City of Cebu is the capital city of Cebu and is the second largest city in the Philippines, the second most significant metropolitan centre in the Philippines and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country.The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca
Cluj-Napoca , commonly known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest , Budapest and Belgrade...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 La Plata
La Plata
La Plata is the capital city of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and of La Plata partido. According to the , the city proper has a population of 574,369 and its metropolitan area has 694,253 inhabitants....

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, France (since 1977) Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada
Niš
Niš
Niš is the largest city of southern Serbia and third-largest city in Serbia . According to the data from 2011, the city of Niš has a population of 177,972 inhabitants, while the city municipality has a population of 257,867. The city covers an area of about 597 km2, including the urban area,...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 Oni
Oni, Georgia
Oni is a town in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region , Georgia. Historically and ethnographically, it is part of Racha, a historic highland province in western Georgia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 (since 2000) Parramatta
Parramatta, New South Wales
Parramatta is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located in Greater Western Sydney west of the Sydney central business district on the banks of the Parramatta River. Parramatta is the administrative seat of the Local Government Area of the City of Parramatta...

, Australia Rosenheim
Rosenheim
Rosenheim is a town in Bavaria at the confluence of the rivers Inn and Mangfall. It is seat of administration of the district of Rosenheim, but is not a part of it.-Geography:...

, Germany Seattle, United States Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, Canada (since 1983) Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the Wupper river valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land...

, Germany(since 1977)

See also

  • Battle of Beersheba (First World War)
  • Beer Sheva Park
    Beer Sheva Park (Seattle)
    Beer Sheva Park is a small park located on Lake Washington in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Dedicated in 1905 as Atlantic City Park after the subdivision, it was renamed after Beer Sheva, Israel, in 1977, to honor Seattle's new sister city. In Beer Sheva, Israel, a "Seattle...

    , Seattle

External links

  • Selection of photos from Beer-Sheva from flickr
    Flickr
    Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community that was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to...

  • Ben-Gurion University
  • The city of Beersheba: a tourist's guide
  • Beer-Sheva – Historical article from the Catholic Encyclopaedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

  • Light Horse charges again Article written by Martin Chulov, published in The Australian, November 1, 2007, the descendants of the Australian light-horsemen rode into the centre of Beersheva, re-enacting the gallant gallop of October 31, 1917
  • Israel Builds Expansion and architecture of Beersheva in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Blueprint for Beersheba
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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