Beersheba

Beersheba, also Be'er Sheva (/bɪərˈʃiːbə/; Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע Be'er Sheva [be.eʁˈʃeva]), is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Israel, the eighth most populous Israeli city with a population of 207,551,[1] and the second largest city with a total area of 117,500 dunams (after Jerusalem).

The Biblical period references to Beersheva refer to a site, Tel Be'er Sheva, lying some 2 and a half miles distant from the modern city, which was established the start of the 20th century when a permanent settlement was established by the Ottoman Turks.[2] The city was captured by the British led Australian Light Horse during World War I. In 1947, Bir Seb'a (Arabic: بئر السبع‎), 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 the Battle of Beersheba waged in October 1948, it was conquered by the Israel Defense Forces.[3]

Beersheba has grown considerably since Israel's independence. A large portion of the population is made up of the descendants of Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews who immigrated from Arab countries after 1948, as well as smaller communities of Bene Israel and Cochin Jews from India. Second and third waves of immigration have taken place since 1990, bringing Russian-speaking Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, as well as Beta Israel immigrants from Ethiopia. The Soviet immigrants have made the game of chess a major sport in Beersheba and the city is now a developing technology center. The city is now Israel's national chess center, with more chess grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world.[4]

Beersheba is home to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. This city also serves as a center for Israel's high-tech industry. [5]

Beersheba

  • בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע
    بئر السبع
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Also spelledBe'er Sheva' (official)
Beer Sheva (unofficial)
Beersheba City Hall 6
BSNU
בית המושל באר שבע
Beer Sheba Israel IMG 6795
Kikar Hamitnadvim, Beersheba
Be'er Sheva at night
From Upper left: Beersheba City Hall, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Negev Museum of Art, view of down town, Volunteers square, Be'er Sheva at night.
Coat of arms of Beersheba

Beersheba is located in Israel
Beersheba
Beersheba
Coordinates: 31°15′32″N 34°47′59″E / 31.25889°N 34.79972°ECoordinates: 31°15′32″N 34°47′59″E / 31.25889°N 34.79972°E
Country Israel
DistrictSouthern
Founded4000 BC (Tel Be'er Sheva)
1900 (The new city)
Government
 • TypeCity
 • MayorRuvik Danilovich
Area
 • Total117,500 dunams (117.5 km2 or 45.4 sq mi)
Elevation
260 m (850 ft)
Population
(2017)[1]
 • Total207,551
 • Density1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)
Name meaningWell of the Oath or Seven Wells(see also)
Websitewww.beer-sheva.muni.il

Etymology

There are several etymologies for the origin of the name "Beersheba". The oath of Abraham and Abimelech (well of the oath) is the one stated in Genesis 21:31. Others include the seven wells dug by Isaac (seven wells) though only three or four have been identified; the oath of Isaac and Abimelech (well of the oath in Genesis 26:33); the seven lambs 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). In this case the meaning is probably "oath", as the ancient Hebrews believed seven to be a lucky number, and the Hebrew "shvu'a" (to take an oath) literally means "to seven oneself".

The Arabic toponym can also be translated as "seven wells" or, as more commonly believed, "lion's well".

During Ottoman administration the city was referred as "بلدية بءرالسبع" (Birüsseb).

Hebrew Bible

Beersheba is mainly dealt with in the Hebrew Bible in connection with the Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, who both dig a well and close peace treaties with King Abimelech of Gerar at the site. Hence it receives its name twice, first after Abraham's dealings with Abimelech (Genesis 21:22-34), and again from Isaac who closes his own covenant with Abimelech of Gerar and whose servants also dig a well there (Genesis 26:23-33). The place is thus connected to two of the three Wife–sister narratives in the Book of Genesis.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was founded when Abraham and Abimelech settled their differences over a well of water and made a covenant (see Genesis 21:22-34). Abimelech's men had taken the well from Abraham after he had previously dug it so Abraham brought sheep and cattle to Abimelech to get the well back. He set aside seven lambs to swear that it was he that had dug the well and no one else. Abimelech conceded that the well belonged to Abraham and, in the Bible, Beersheba means "Well of Seven" or "Well of the Oath".[6]

Beersheba is further mentioned in following Bible passages: Isaac built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33). Jacob 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 Simeon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort there for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14).[7] Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the Israelite slaves returned from Babylon, they resettled the town. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.[7]

Zibiah, the consort of King Ahaziah of Judah and the mother of King Jehoash of Judah,[8] was from Beersheba.

History

Antiquity

Human settlement in the area dates from the Copper Age. The inhabitants lived in caves, crafting metal tools and raising cattle.[9] Findings unearthed at Tel Be'er Sheva, an archaeological site east of modern-day Beersheba, suggest the region has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC.[10] The city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

Israelite era

Tel Be'er Sheva Overview 2007041
Tel Be'er Sheva archaeological site

Tel Be'er Sheva, an archaeological site containing the ruins of an ancient town believed to have been the Biblical Beersheba, lies a few kilometers east of the modern city. The town dates to the early Israelite period, around the 10th century BC. 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 and Isaac when they arrived there. The streets were laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, commercial, military, and residential use. It is believed to have been the first planned settlement in the region, and is also noteworthy for its elaborate water system; in particular, a huge cistern carved out of the rock beneath the town.

Persian era

During the Persian rule 539 BC–c. 332 BC Beersheba was at the south of Yehud Medinata autonomous province of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. During that era the city was rebuilt[11] and a citadel had been built.[12] Archeological finds from between 359 and 338 BC have been made and include pottery and Ostracon.[12]

Hasmonean era

During the Hasmonean rule, the city did not take importance as it was not mentioned when conquered from Edom or described in the Hasmonean wars.[11]

Roman and Byzantine era

During Roman rule the city was in the Coele-Syria region. During the Roman era and later Byzantine periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. Around 64-63 BC Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus made Be'er Sheva the southern part of the Judea province, in the following years the city was on the limes belt (the limes belt in the region attributed to Vespasian era),[13] The city become center of the Eparchy in around 268.[13]

During the 4th century, Beersheba was described in the Madaba Map and Eusebius of Caesarea as a large village with a Roman garrison.[14]

The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Muslim conquest of the Levant. The city was destroyed[15] and remained abandoned until the late 19th century. Some pottery from late Byzantine and early Islamic rule has been found.[16]

Ottoman era

EarlyBeersheba2
View of Beersheba from the south in 1902.
BersheebaWWI
Beersheba, 1917

The present-day city was built to serve as an administrative centre by the Ottoman administration for the benefit of the Bedouin at the outset of the 20th century and was given the name of Bir al-Sabi (well of the seven (lambs)). Down to World War 1, it was an overwhelmingly Muslim township, with some 1,000 residents. [17] In 1982, Joseph Ben-David and Gideon Kressel undertook research on the importance of the market in the Negev Bedouin economy.[18]:3 Ben-David and Kressel argued that the Bedouin traditional market was the cornerstone for the founding of Beersheba as capital of the Negev during the Ottoman period.[18] A Negev Bedouin, Aref Abu-Rabia, who earned his PhD in anthropology and went on to become the official in charge of education in the Negev District of the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture, published his book entitled A Bedouin Century in which he called Beersheba "the first Bedouin city."[19]:ix

In June 1899, the Ottoman government ordered the creation of the Beersheba sub-district (kaza) of the district (mutasarrıflık) of Jerusalem, with Beersheba to be developed as its capital.[20] Implementation was entrusted to a special bureau of the Ministry of the Interior.[20] There were multiple reasons for the decision. The British incorporation of Sinai into Egypt led to a need for the Ottomans to consolidate their hold on southern Palestine.[20] There was also a desire to encourage sedentation of the Bedouin, with a predicted increase of tranquility and tax revenue.[20] The first governor (kaymakam), Isma'il Kamal Bey, lived in a tent lent by the local sheikh until the government house (Saraya) was built.[21] Kamal was replaced by Muhammed Carullah Efendi in 1901, who in turn was replaced by Hamdi Bey in 1903.[20] The governor in 1908 was promoted to 'adjoint' (mutassarrıf muavin) to the governor of the Jerusalem district, which placed him above the other sub-district governors.[20]

A visitor to Beersheba in May 1900 found only a ruin, a two-storey stone khan, and several tents.[22] By the start of 1901 there was a barracks with a small garrison and other buildings.[23] The German archaeologist Alois Musil noted in August 1902:

Beersheba grows from day to day; This year, instead of the tents, we found stately houses along a beautiful road from the Sarayah to the bed of the wadi. In the government building a garden has been laid out, and all sorts of trees have been planted which are sure to prosper, for the few shrubs planted two years ago by the steam mill at the south-east end of the road have grown considerably. The lively construction activity is also causing a lively exploitation of the ruins.[24]

By 1907 there was a large village and military post, with a residence for the kaymakam and a large mosque.[25] The population increased from 300 to 800 between 1902 and 1911 and by 1914 there were 1,000 people living in 200 houses.[20]

A plan for the town in the form of a grid was developed by a Swiss and a German architect and two others.[26][27] The grid pattern can be seen today in Beersheba's Old City. Most of the residents at the time were Arabs from Hebron and the Gaza area, although Jews also began settling in the city. Many Bedouin abandoned their nomadic lives and built homes in Beersheba.[28]

First World War and British Mandate era

During World War I, the Ottomans built a military railroad from the Hejaz line to Beersheba, inaugurating the station on October 30, 1915.[29] The celebration was attended by the Ottoman army commander Jamal Pasha and other senior government officials. The train line was active until the British Army forced the Ottomans out in 1917, towards the end of the war.

Beersheba played an important role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in World War I. The Battle of Beersheba was part of a wider British offensive in World War I aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza to Beersheba. On October 31, 1917, three months after taking Rafah, General Allenby's troops breached the line of Turkish defense between Gaza and Beersheba.[30] Approximately five-hundred soldiers of the Australian 4th Light Horse Regiment and the 12th Light Horse Regiment of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, led by Brigadier General William Grant, with only horses and bayonets, charged the Turkish trenches, overran them and captured the wells in what has become known as the Battle of Beersheba, called the "last successful cavalry charge in British military history."[31][32] On the edge of Beersheba's Old City is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery containing the graves of Australian, New Zealand and British soldiers. The town also contains a memorial park dedicated to them.

During the Palestine Mandate, Beersheba was a major administrative center. The British constructed a railway between Rafah and Beersheba in October 1917; it opened to the public in May 1918, serving the Negev and settlements south of Mount Hebron.[33] In 1928, at the beginning of the tension between the Jews and the Arabs over control of Palestine, 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 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, the remaining Jews left.[34]

At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine, Beersheba had a population of 2,012 Muslims, 235 Christians, 98 Jews and 11 Druze (total 2,356).[35] At the time of the 1931 census, Beersheba had 545 occupied houses and a population of 2,791 Muslims, 152 Christians, 11 Jews and 5 Bahá'í (total 2,959).[36] The 1945 village survey conducted by the Palestine Mandate government found 5,360 Muslims, 200 Christians and 10 others (total 5,570).[37]

Beersheba from the air

Beersheba 1948

Beersheba i

Beersheba police station. 1948. Original building Ottoman with British Mandate addition.

Beersheba ii

Beersheba mosque. 1948

Beersheva mosque

A mosque in Be'ersheva photographed during Operation Yoav, 1948

Beersheba iv

Harel Brigade assembling in Beersheba prior to Operation Horev, 25 December 1948

Beersheba v

Nahal Beersheba in flood, 1948

State of Israel

IsraelPhil
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performing in Beersheba, Israel, 1948
Beersheba, Monument to Negev Brigade, Bunker 02
Monument to the Negev Brigade, Danny Karavan
שכונה ב
Beersheba in the 1960s

In 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposed that Beersheba be included within the Jewish state in their partition plan for Palestine.[38] However, when the UN's Ad Hoc Committee revised the plan, they moved Beersheva to the Arab state on account of it being primarily Arab.[38][39] Egyptian forces had been stationed at Beersheva since May 1948. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Israel launched Operation Yoav, in breach of a truce that had been arranged,[40] by creating a ruse - two fuel trucks were marked for explosion if the Egyptians opened fire when the convoy penetrated the Negev -and when the Egyptians did fire, the explosion formed the pretext for Israel to justify the operation.[41]

It was Yigal Allon who proposed the conquest of Beersheba,[42]which was approved by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, he ordered the "conquest of Beersheba, occupation of outposts around it, [and] demolition of most of the town."[43] The objective was to break the Egyptian blockade of Israeli convoys to the Negev. The Egyptian army did not expect an offensive and fled en masse.[44] Israel bombed the town on October 16,[45] At 4:00 am on October 21, the 8th Brigade's 89th battalion and the Negev Brigade's 7th and 9th battalions moved in, some troops advancing from Mishmar HaNegev junction, 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Beersheba, others from the Turkish train station and Hatzerim. By 9:45, Beersheba was in Israeli hands. Around 120 Egyptian soldiers were taken prisoner. All of the Arab inhabitants, who had resisted, were expelled [17] with the remaining Arab civilians, 200 men and 150 women and children, taken to the police fort and, 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. Some 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.[43]The town was subject to large-scale looting by the Haganah, and by December, in one calculation, the total number of Palestinians driven out from Beersheva and surrounding areas reached 30,000 with many ending up in Jordan as refugees.[45][46] Following Operation Yoav, a 10-kilometer radius exclusion zone around Beersheba was enforced into which no Bedouin were allowed.[47]In response, the United Nations Security Council passed two resolutions on the 4th and 16th of November demanding that Israel withdraw from the area.[48]

Following the conclusion of the war, the 1949 Armistice Agreements formally granted Beersheba to Israel.The town was then transformed the town into an Israeli city with only an exiguous Arab minority.[17] Beersheba was deemed strategically important due to its location with a reliable water supply and at a major crossroads, northwest to Hebron and Jerusalem, east to the Dead Sea and al Karak, south to Aqaba, west to Gaza and southwest to Al-Auja and the border with Egypt.[44]

After a few months, the town's war-damaged houses were repaired. As a post-independence wave of Jewish immigration to Israel began, Beersheba experienced a population boom as thousands of immigrants moved in. The city rapidly expanded beyond its core, which became known as the "Old City," as new neighborhoods were built around it, complete with various housing projects such as apartment buildings and houses with auxiliary farms, as well as shopping centers and schools. The Old City was turned into a city center, with shops, restaurants, and government and utility offices. An industrial area and one of the largest cinemas in Israel were also built in the city. By 1956, Beersheba was a booming city of 22,000.[49][50] In 1959, during Wadi Salib riots, riots spread quickly to other parts of the country, including Beersheba.[51]

Soroka Hospital opened its doors in 1960. By 1968, the population had grown to 80,000.[52] The University of the Negev, which would later become Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, was established in 1969. The then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat visited Beersheba in 1979. In 1983, its population was more than 110,000.

Urban development

מבט על העיר באר שבע, אמצע שנות השמונים
Beersheba in the mid-1980s

As part of its Blueprint Negev project, the Jewish National Fund is funding major redevelopment projects in Beersheba. One project is the Beersheba River Walk, a 900-acre (3.6-square-kilometre) riverfront district with green spaces, hiking trails, a 3,000-seat sports hall, a 15-acre (6.1-hectare) boating lake filled with recycled waste water, promenades, restaurants, cafés, galleries, boat rentals, a 12,000-seat amphitheater, playgrounds, and a bridge along the route of the city's Mekorot water pipes. The plans include building new homes overlooking the park and neighborhood.[53] At the official entrance to the river park will be the Beit Eshel Park, which will consist of a park built around a courtyard with historic remains from the settlement of Beit Eshel.[54]

Beer Sheva Aerial View
Panorama of Beersheba
PipesBridge
Pipes Bridge, 2012
Beer Sheba Israel IMG 6789
Modern Beersheba

Four new shopping malls are planned. The first, Kanyon Beersheba, will be a 115,000-square-metre (1,240,000-square-foot) 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.[54][55][56] Another mall will be a farmer's market, the first ever in Israel. It will be an enclosed, circular complex with 400 spaces for vendors, and it will be surrounded by parks and greenery.[54]

A new central bus station has been built in the city. The station has a glass-enclosed complex also containing shops and cafés.[54]

In recent years, some $10.5 million has been invested in renovating Beersheba's Old City, preserving historical buildings and upgrading infrastructure.[57] The Turkish Quarter is also being redeveloped with newly cobbled streets, widened sidewalks, and the restoration of Turkish homes into areas for dining and shopping.[53]

In 2011, city hall announced plans to turn Beersheba into the "water city" of Israel.[58] One of the projects, "Beersheva beach," envisions a 7-dunam facility opposite city hall.[59][60] Other projects include new fountains near the Soroka Medical Center and in front of the Shamoon College of Engineering.

In the 1990s, as skyscrapers began to appear in Israel, the construction of high-rise buildings began in Beersheba.[61] Today, downtown Beersheba has been described as a "clean, compact, and somewhat sterile-looking collection of high-rise office and residential towers."[62] The city's tallest building is Rambam Square 2, a 32-story apartment building.[63] Many additional high-rise buildings are planned or are under construction, including skyscrapers.[64][65][66] There are further plans to build luxury residential towers in the city.[67]

The city is undergoing a major construction boom, which includes both development of urban design elements, such as water fountains and bridges, and environmental development such as playgrounds and parks.[68]

In December 2012, a plan to build 16,000 new housing units in the Ramot Gimel neighborhood was scrapped in favor of creating a new urban forest, which will span 1,360 acres (550 ha) and serve as the area's "green lung", as part of the plans to develop a "green band" around the city. The forest will include designated picnic areas, biking trails, and walking trails. According to Mayor Ruvik Danilovich, Beersheba still has an abundance of open, underdeveloped spaces that can be used for urban development.[69]

In 2017, a new urban building plan was approved for the city, designed to raise the city's population to 340,000 by 2030. Under the plan, 13,000 more housing units will be built, along with industrial and business developments occupying a total of four million square meters. A second public hospital is also planned.[70]

Arab–Israeli conflict

On October 19, 1998, sixty four people were wounded in a grenade attack[71]. On August 31, 2004, sixteen people were killed in two suicide bombings on commuter buses in Beersheba for which Hamas claimed responsibility. On August 28, 2005, another suicide bomber attacked the central bus station, seriously injuring two security guards and 45 bystanders.[72] During Operation Cast Lead, which began on December 27, 2008 and lasted until the ceasefire on January 18, 2009, Hamas fired 2,378 rockets (such as Grad rockets) and mortars, from Gaza into southern Israel, including Beersheba. The rocket attacks have continued, but have been only partially effective since the introduction of the Iron Dome rocket defense system.[73][74][75][76]

In 2010 an Arab attacked and injured two people with an axe.[77][78][79] In 2012, a Palestinian from Jenin was stopped before a stabbing attack in a "safe house."[80][81] On October 18, 2015, a lone gunman shot and killed a soldier guarding the Beersheva bus station before being gunned down by police.[82] In September 2016, the Shin Bet thwarted a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror attack at a wedding hall in Beersheba.[83][84]

Emblem of Beersheba

Beer Sheva COA stamp 1965
Beersheva emblem on a 1965 stamp

Since 1950, Beersheba has changed its municipal emblem several times. The 1950 emblem, designed by Abraham Khalili, featured a tamarix tree, a factory and water flowing from a pipeline.[85] In 1972 the emblem was modernized with the symbolic representation of the Twelve Tribes and a tower.[85] Words from the Bible are insrcibed: Abraham "planted a tamarix tree in Beersheba." (Genesis 21:33) Since 2012, it has incorporated the number seven as part of the city rebranding.

Geography

NahalashanS
Dry riverbed in Nahal Ashan park

Beersheba is located on the northern edge of the Negev desert 115 kilometres (71 mi) south-east of Tel Aviv and 120 kilometres (75 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 Beersheba Valley has been populated for thousands of years, as it has available water, which flows from the Hebron hills in the winter and is stored underground in vast quantities.[86] The main river in Beersheba is Nahal Beersheva, a wadi that floods in the winter. The Kovshim and Katef streams are other important wadis that pass through the city. Beersheba is surrounded by a number of satellite towns, including Omer, Lehavim, and Meitar, and the Bedouin localities of Rahat, Tel as-Sabi, and Lakiya. Just north west of the city (near Ramot neighborhood ) is a region called Goral hills (heb:גבעות גורל lit: hills of fate), the area has hills with up to 500 metres (1,600 feet) above sea level and low as 300 metres (980 feet) above sea level.[87] Due to heavy construction the flora unique to the area is endangered. North east of the city (north to the Neve Menahem neighborhood) there are Loess plains and dry river bands.

Climate

Beersheba has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with Mediterranean influences. The city has both characteristics of Mediterranean and desert climates. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are mild. Rainfall is highly concentrated in the winter season, even more so than other cities with a similar climate such as Almería in southern Spain. In summer, the temperatures are high in daytime and nighttime with an average high of 34.7 °C (94 °F) and an average low of 21.4 °C (71 °F). Winters have an average high of 17.7 °C (64 °F) and average low of 7.1 °C (45 °F). Snow is very rare; a snowfall on February 20, 2015 was the first such occurrence in the city since 1992.[88]

Precipitation in summer is rare, the most rainfalls come in winter between September to May, but the annual amount is low, averaging 195.1 millimeters (7.7 in) per year. Sandstorms, haze and fog are common, especially in winter, as a result of the high humidity.

Demography

Beersheba is one of the fastest-growing cities in Israel. Though it has a population of about 200,000, the city is larger in size than Tel Aviv, and its urban plan calls for an eventual population of 450,000–500,000.[94] It is planned to have a population of 340,000 by 2030.[70] In 2010, the National Council for Planning and Construction approved a master plan with the goal of increasing the population of Beersheba and its metropolitan area to 1 million by 2020.[95] Beersheba's 20,000 Arabs represent about 10% of the population.[96] Israel Central Bureau of Statistics divides the Beersheba metropolitan area into two areas:

Metropolitan rings in the Beersheba metropolitan area[97]
Metropolitan ring Localities Population (2014 census) Population density
(per km²)
Annual Population
growth rate
Israeli Jews Israeli Arabs Others[a] Total
Core[b] 1 177,200 4,400 19,500 201,100 1,711.8 0.9%
Outer Ring[c] 32 35,700 124,100 500 160,300 286.4 3.0%
Northern Section 12 11,700 72,100 200 84,000 272.8 3.2%
Eastern Section 8 14,900 52,000 200 67,100 527.8 2.7%
Western Section 12 9,000 0 100 9,100 73.2 4.4%
Total 65 248,500 252,600 20,500 521,600 533.6 1.8%
  1. ^ Others includes non-Arab Christians and those not classified by religion.
  2. ^ Includes the city of Beersheba.
  3. ^ Includes the cities Rahat and Ofakim, the local councils Lehavim, Omer and Tel Sheva, as well as many smaller towns (local councils).

Economy

Negev Mall Tower
Negev Mall Tower

The largest employers in Beersheba are Soroka Medical Center[98], the municipality, Israel Defense Forces and Ben-Gurion University. A major Israel Aerospace Industries complex is located in the main industrial zone, north of Highway 60. Numerous electronics and chemical plants, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, are located in and around the city.

Beersheba is emerging as a high-tech center, with an emphasis on cyber security.[5] A large high-tech park is being built near the Be'er Sheva North Railway Station.[99] Deutsche Telekom, Elbit Systems, EMC, Lockheed Martin, Ness Technologies, WeWork and RAD Data Communications have already opened facilities there, as has a cyberincubator run by Jerusalem Venture Partners.[100] A Science park funded by the RASHI-SACTA Foundation, Beersheba Municipality and private donors was completed in 2008.[99] Another high-tech park is located north of the city near Omer.

An additional three industrial zones are located 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.

Local government

PikiWiki Israel 10420 court house in beer sheva
Beersheba District Court

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. In 2006, after many years of financial struggle, the municipality has achieved a balanced budget.[101]

The official emblem of the municipality of Beersheba depicts an eshel (tamarisk tree), the tree planted by Abraham according to Genesis,[102] and the observation tower connected to the municipality building.

The mayor of Beersheba is Ruvik Danilovich, who was deputy mayor under Yaakov Turner.[103]

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 1989 1997 8
6 David Bunfeld 1997 1998 1
7 Yaakov Turner 1998 2008 10
8 Ruvik Danilovich 2008

Educational institutions

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 matriculation certificate in 2001. The city also has several private schools and yeshivot that cater to the religious sector.

PikiWiki Israel 4451 College of Engineering Sammy Shamun
Shamoon College of Engineering

Beersheba is home to one of Israel's major universities, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, located on an urban campus in the city (Dalet neighborhood). Other schools in Beersheva are the Open University of Israel, Shamoon College of Engineering (SCE), Kaye Academic College of Education, Practical Engineering College of Beersheba (Hamikhlala ha technologit shel Be'er sheva),[104] and a campus of the Israeli Air and Space College (Techni Be'er sheva )[105]

Neighborhoods

After Israeli independence, Beersheba became a "laboratory" for Israeli architecture.[106] 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 (literally, "the carpet"), also known as Hashekhuna ledugma (the model neighborhood), was hailed by architects around the world.[106] Today, Beersheba is divided into seventeen residential neighborhoods in addition to the Old City and Ramot, an umbrella neighborhood of four sub-districts. Many of the neighbourhoods are named after letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which also have numerical value, but descriptive place names have been given to some of the newer neighborhoods.

Art and cultural institutions

PikiWiki Israel 10581 Beer Sheva Cinema keren
Keren Cinema, first movie theater in the Negev

In 1953, Cinema Keren, the Negev's first movie theater, opened in Beersheba. It was built by the Histadrut and had seating for 1,200 people.[107] 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 Pinchas Zukerman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Shlomo Mintz, Gary Karr, and Paul Tortelier.[108] In the 1970s, a memorial commemorating fallen Israeli soldiers designed by the sculptor Danny Karavan was erected on a hill north-east of the city.[109] The Beersheba Theater opened in 1973. The Light Opera Group of the Negev, established in 1980, performs musicals in English every year.[110]

Landmarks in the city include Abraham's Well and the old Turkish train station, now the focus of development plans.[111] The Artists House of the Negev, in a Mandate-era building, showcases artwork connected in some way to the Negev.[112]

The Negev Museum of Art reopened in 2004 in the Ottoman Governor's House, and an art and media center for young people was established in the Old City.

In 2009, a new tourist and information center, Gateway to the Negev, was built.[113]

Great Mosque of Beersheba

D283-042
The Great Mosque of Beersheba in 1948

In 1906, during the Ottoman era, the Great Mosque of Beersheba was built with donations collected from the Bedouin residents in the Negev. It was used actively as a mosque until the city fell to Israeli forces in 1948.[114] The mosque was used until 1953 as the city's courthouse. From then until the 1990s, when it was closed for renovations, the building housed an archeological museum, which the city intended to turn into the archeological branch of the Negev Museum.[115] In 2011, however, the Supreme Court of Israel, sitting as the High Court of Justice, ordered the property to be turned into a museum of Islam without reverting to a place of worship.[116]

Transportation

Beersheba is the central transport hub of southern Israel, served by roads, railways and air. Beersheba is connected to Tel Aviv via Highway 40, 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, which connects to Ashkelon and the Gaza Strip to the northwest, and Dimona to the east. Finally, Highway 60 connects Beersheba with Jerusalem and the Shoket Junction, and goes through the West Bank. 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, established in 2003, had a fleet of 90 buses and operates 19 lines in the city between 2003 and 2016, most of which depart from the Beersheba Central Bus Station.[117] 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, Dan BaDarom and Metropoline.[118] The intercity bus service was transferred to Dan Be'er Sheva in 25'th of November 2016 and Metrodan Beersheva had been shut down.With the change to Dan Be'er Sheva the company introduced electronic payment stopping pay at the driver which was common in Beersheba.[119]

PikiWiki Israel 4499 Pedestrian Bridge
Mexico Bridge from railway station to Ben-Gurion University

Israel Railways operates two stations in the city that form part of the railway to Beersheba: the old Be'er Sheva North University station, adjacent to Ben Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center, and the new Be'er Sheva Central 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 factories. An extension is planned to Eilat[120] 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 in Tel Aviv and Lod. Until 2012, the railway line to Beersheba used a slow single-track configuration with sharp curves and many level crossings which limited train speed. Between 2004 and 2012 the line was double tracked and rebuilt using an improved alignment and all its level crossings were grade separated. The rebuilding effort cost NIS 2.8 billion and significantly reduced the travel time and greatly increased the train frequency to and from Tel Aviv and Kiryat Motzkin to Beersheba.[121] In addition, Beersheba will be linked to Tel Aviv and Eilat by a new passenger and freight high-speed railway system.[122]

There have been plans for a light rail system in Beersheba for many years, and a light rail system appears in the master plan for the city.[123] An agreement was signed for the construction of a light rail system in 1998, but was not implemented. In 2008, the Israeli Finance Ministry contemplated freezing the Tel Aviv Light Rail project and building a light rail system in Beersheba instead, but that did not happen. In 2014, mayor Ruvik Danilovich announced that the light rail system will be built in the city.[124][125][126] In 2017, the Ministry of Transport gave the Beersheba municipality approval to proceed with preliminary planning on a light rail system.[127]

Hiking

Beersheba is linked to Hilvan by the Abraham Path.

Sports

Hapoel Be'er Sheva plays in the Israeli Premier League, the top tier of Israeli football, having been promoted in the 2008–2009 Liga Leumit season. The club has won the Israeli championship five times, in 1975, 1976, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as the State Cup in 1997. Beersheba has two other local clubs, Maccabi Be'er Sheva (based in Neve Noy) and F.C. Be'er Sheva (based in the north of Dalet), a continuation of the defunct Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva. Hapoel play at the Turner Stadium.

Beersheba has a basketball club, Hapoel Be'er Sheva. The team plays at The Conch Arena, which seats 3,000.

Beersheba has become Israel's national chess center; thanks to Soviet immigration, it is home to the largest number of chess grandmasters of any city in the world.[128] The city hosted the World Team Chess Championship in 2005, and chess is taught in the city's kindergartens.[129] The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad[130] and the bronze at the 2010 Olympiad. The chess club was founded in 1973 by Eliyahu Levant, who is still the driving spirit behind it.[131]

The city has the second largest wrestling 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 immigrant absorption center. Maccabi Be'er Sheva has a freestyle wrestling team, whilst Hapoel Be'er Sheva has a Greco-Roman wrestling team. In the 2010 World Wrestling Championships, AMI students won five medals.[132] Cricket is played under the auspices of Israel Cricket Association. Beersheba is also home to a rugby team, whose senior and youth squads have won several national titles (including the recent Senior National League 2004–2005 championship).[133] Beersheba's tennis center, which opened in 1991, features eight lighted courts, and the Beersheba (Teyman) airfield is used for gliding.

Environmental awards

In 2012, the Beersheba "ring trail", a 42-kilometer hiking trail around the city, won third place in the annual environmental competition of the European Travelers Association.[134]

Notable residents

International Relations

Twin towns—Sister cities

Beersheba is twinned with 13 other towns and cities:[135]

Africa

Asia

Europe North America

Oceania

South America

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Thareani-Sussely, Yifat (2007). "The 'Archaeology of the Days of Manasseh' Reconsidered in the Light of Evidence From The Beersheba Valley". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 139 (2): 69–77. doi:10.1179/003103207x194091.

External links

Beer Sheva travel guide from Wikivoyage

Al-Imara

al-Imara (Arabic: العمارة‎), was a Palestinian village, located in the northern Naqab Desert 27 kilometers (17 mi) northwest of Beersheba.

Al-Jammama

Al-Jammama (Arabic: الجمامه‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located in the Negev desert 30 km west of the city of Beersheba. Its settled population was recorded as six in the 1931 census.

Ashkelon–Beersheba railway

The Ashkelon–Beersheba railway is a railway line linking Ashkelon and Beersheba operated by Israel Railways. It spans approximately 60 km of double track in the northern Negev region of southern Israel and provides rail service to the cities of Sderot, Netivot and Ofakim. The line links Beersheba, Sderot, Netivot, and Ofakim to Ashkelon and Tel Aviv.

Battle of Beersheba (1917)

The Battle of Beersheba (Turkish: Birüssebi Muharebesi, German: Schlacht von Birüssebi) was fought on 31 October 1917, when the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) attacked and captured the Yildirim Army Group garrison at Beersheba, beginning the Southern Palestine Offensive of the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I. Infantry from the 60th (London) and the 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions of the XX Corps from the southwest conducted limited attacks in the morning, then the Anzac Mounted Division (Desert Mounted Corps) launched a series of attacks against the strong defences which dominated the eastern side of Beersheba, resulting in their capture during the late afternoon. Shortly afterwards, the Australian Mounted Division's 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments (4th Light Horse Brigade) conducted a mounted infantry charge with bayonets in their hands, their only weapon for mounted attack, as their rifles were slung across their backs. Part of the two regiments dismounted to attack entrenchments on Tel es Saba defending Beersheba while the remainder of the light horsemen continued their charge into the town, capturing the place and part of the garrison as it was withdrawing.

German General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein was commander of the three divisions of the Fourth Army. He further strengthened his defensive line stretching from Gaza to Beersheba after the EEF defeats at the first and second battles of Gaza in March and April 1917, and received reinforcements of two divisions. Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Philip Chetwode (commanding the EEF's Eastern Force) began the Stalemate in Southern Palestine, defending essentially the same entrenched lines held at the end of the second battle. He initiated regular mounted reconnaissance into the open eastern flank of the Gaza to Beersheba line towards Beersheba. In June, the Ottoman Fourth Army was reorganized when the new Yildirim Army Group was established, commanded by German General Erich von Falkenhayn. At about the same time, British General Edmund Allenby replaced General Archibald Murray as commander of the EEF. Allenby reorganized the EEF to give him direct command of three corps, in the process deactivating Chetwode's Eastern Force and placing him in command of one of the two infantry corps. At the same time, Chauvel's Desert Column was renamed the Desert Mounted Corps. The stalemate continued through the summer in difficult conditions on the northern edge of the Negev Desert, while EEF reinforcements began to strengthen the divisions which had suffered more than 10,000 casualties during the two battles for Gaza.

The primary functions of the EEF and the Ottoman Army during this time were to man the front lines and patrol the open eastern flank, although both sides conducted training of all units. The XXI Corps maintained the defences in the Gaza sector of the line by mid-October, while the battle of Passchendaele continued on the Western Front. Meanwhile, Allenby was preparing for the manoeuvre warfare attacks on the Ottoman defensive line, beginning with Beersheba, and for the subsequent advance to Jerusalem, and he was nearing completion with the arrival of the last reinforcements.

Beersheba was defended by lines of trenches supported by isolated redoubts on earthworks and hills, which covered all approaches to the town. The Ottoman garrison was eventually encircled by the two infantry and two mounted divisions, as they and their supporting artillery launched their attacks. The 60th (London) Division's preliminary attack and capture of the redoubt on Hill 1070 led to the bombardment of the main Ottoman trench line. Then a joint attack by the 60th (London) and 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions captured all their objectives. Meanwhile, the Anzac Mounted Division cut the road to the northeast of Beersheba, from Beersheba to Hebron and continuing to Jerusalem. Continuous fighting against the main redoubt and defenses on Tel el Saba which dominated the eastern approaches to the town resulted in its capture in the afternoon.

During this fighting, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade had been sent to reinforce the Anzac Mounted Division, while the 5th Mounted Brigade remained in corps reserve armed with swords. With all brigades of both mounted divisions already committed to the battle, the only brigade available was the 4th Light Horse Brigade, which was ordered to capture Beersheba. These swordless mounted infantrymen galloped over the plain, riding towards the town and a redoubt supported by entrenchments on a mound of Tel es Saba south-east of Beersheba. The 4th Light Horse Regiment on the right jumped trenches before turning to make a dismounted attack on the Ottoman infantry in the trenches, gun pits, and redoubts. Most of the 12th Light Horse Regiment on the left rode on across the face of the main redoubt to find a gap in the Ottoman defenses, crossing the railway line into Beersheba to complete the first step of an offensive which culminated in the EEF capturing Jerusalem six weeks later.

Battle of Tel el Khuweilfe

The Battle of Tel el Khuweilfe, part of the Southern Palestine Offensive, began on 1 November 1917, the day after the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) victory at the Battle of Beersheba during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. After the Stalemate in Southern Palestine a series of coordinated attacks were launched by British Empire units on the Ottoman Empire's German commanded Yildirim Army Group's front line, which stretched from Gaza inland to Beersheba. During fighting for the town, the road from Beersheba to Jerusalem via Hebron, was cut just north of the town in the southern spur of the Judean Hills. Here Ottoman units strongly defended the road and the Seventh Army headquarters at Hebron.

Over the next week, attacks by the 53rd (Welsh) Division, the Anzac Mounted Division, and the 5th Mounted Brigade (Australian Mounted Division) attempted to capture the Khuweilfe position. Attacks were launched by the British infantry and Yeomanry cavalry, and Australian and New Zealand mounted brigades.

Despite their failure to dislodge the Ottoman defenders, the continuing pressure drew in Ottoman reserves, which could have made the EEF attacks at Gaza during the night of 1/2 November, and at Hareira and Sheria on 6–7 November, more strongly contested. On 6 November, in coordination with the attacks on Hareira and Sheria, the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, with the Imperial Camel Brigade covering their flanks, made another inconclusive assault with artillery support. This fighting continued the following day, until the Ottoman defenders began to withdraw, as a consequence of the loss of Hareira, the evacuation of Gaza, and the weakening of the Sheria position, all of which threatened to outflank the Tel el Khuweilfe position.

Be'er Sheva Center railway station

Be'er Sheva Center railway station is an Israel Railways terminal in Beersheba. It is located on Yitzhak Ben Zvi street next to the city's central bus station and HaNegev Mall. It is one of two railway stations serving the city, the other being Be'er Sheva North, located near the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Be'er Sheva North railway station

Be'er Sheva North railway station (Hebrew: תחנת הרכבת באר שבע צפון‎, Takhanat HaRakevet Be-er Sheva Tzafon) (also known as the University Train Station) is an Israel Railways station in Beersheba. It is a stop on the intercity line from Tel Aviv and the terminus of the Beersheba - Dimona spur.

The station is located on HaHaroshet Street and links to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by Mexico Bridge, a covered pedestrian walkway. Another covered pedestrian bridge from the station leads to the technology business park located to the north.

The station complex also includes a large rail yard and a rolling stock maintenance depot.

Beersheba Subdistrict, Mandatory Palestine

The Beersheba Subdistrict (Arabic: قضاء بئر السبع‎, Hebrew: נפת באר שבע‎) was one of the subdistricts of Mandatory Palestine. It was located in modern-day southern Israel. The city of Beersheba was the capital. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the subdistrict largely transformed into the Beersheba subdistrict of Israel.

Beersheba bus bombings

The Beersheba bus bombings were two suicide bombings carried out nearly simultaneously aboard commuter buses in Beersheba, Israel, on August 31, 2004. 16 people were killed and more than 100 were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Beersheba metropolitan area

The Metropolitan area of Beersheba (Hebrew: מטרופולין באר שבע‎) is a metropolitan area including areas from both the Beersheba and the Southern Districts of Israel. The area is closely linked to the city of Beersheba through social, economic, and cultural ties. The metropolitan area of Beersheba is located in the Negev desert. The Beersheba metropolitan area is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country, with an estimated population of over 377,100.

Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva F.C.

Beitar Avraham Be'er Sheva (Hebrew: בית"ר אברהם באר שבע‎) was an Israeli football club based in Beersheba.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), (Hebrew: אוניברסיטת בן-גוריון בנגב, Oniversitat Ben-Guriyon baNegev) is a public research university in Beersheba, Israel. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has five campuses: the Marcus Family Campus, Beer Sheva; the David Bergmann Campus, Beer Sheva; the David Tuviyahu Campus, Beer Sheva; the Sede Boqer Campus, and Eilat Campus.

Ben-Gurion University is a center for teaching and research with about 20,000 students. Some of its research institutes include the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research with the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, and the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism.

Dan Beersheva

Dan Beersheva (Hebrew: דן באר שבע‎) is an Israeli bus company, which provides the local bus routes in Beersheva. The company is a subsidiary of Dan BaDarom.

In 2015, Dan BaDarom, which is a subsidiary of Dan Bus Company, won the tender of the intracity lines in Beersheva.

In 2016, Dan BaDarom decided to establish a subsidiary to operate the bus routes that included in the tender.

In November 25, 2016, Dan BaDarom started to operate the bus routes in Beersheva instead of Metrodan Beersheba that was shut down.

List of radio stations in Israel

This is a list of radio stations in Israel.

Maccabi Be'er Sheva F.C.

Maccabi Be'er Sheva Football Club (Hebrew: מועדון כדורגל מכבי באר שבע‎) is an Israeli football team based in Beersheba. The club plays home matches at the Vasermil Stadium.

Negev

The Negev (Hebrew: הַנֶּגֶב, Tiberian vocalization: han-Néḡeḇ ; Arabic: النقب‎ an-Naqab) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region's largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba (pop. 207,551), in the north. At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin cities, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics.

The desert is home to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose faculties include the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, both located on the Midreshet Ben-Gurion campus adjacent to Sde Boker.

Although historically a separate region, the Negev was added to the proposed area of Mandatory Palestine, later to become Israel, on 10 July 1922, having been conceded by British representative St John Philby ”in Trans-Jordan’s name”.In October 2012, global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet rated the Negev second on a list of the world's top ten regional travel destinations for 2013, noting its current transformation through development.

Railway to Beersheba

Railway to Beersheba (Hebrew: מסילת הרכבת לבאר שבע‎, Mesilat HaRakevet LiV'er Sheva) is a railroad line that runs from central Israel to the Zin Factories (Mount Zin) in southern Israel, with a spur to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station and branch lines to Ramat Hovav, the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa, and a connection to the Ashkelon–Beersheba railway. It is part of the main line of Israel Railways, of which the northern starting point of the line designated as the "line to Beersheba" is usually indicated as beginning at Na'an junction, where the railway splits to Beersheba and Jerusalem. Because the line is not limited to Beersheba, it is known in Israel as Mesilat HaDarom (Southern Railway).

Since the opening of the Dimona Railway Station in 2005, it has been used for passenger service from Nahariya to Be'er Sheva Center and from Be'er Sheva North to Dimona. The other two branches are used exclusively for freight services.

Southern Palestine Offensive

The Southern Palestine Offensive, employing manoeuvre warfare, began on 31 October 1917, with the Battle of Beersheba, during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, of World War I. After the capture of Beersheba, by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), the Gaza to Beersheba line became increasingly weakened and, seven days later, the EEF successfully forced the Ottoman Turkish Empire's Seventh and Eighth Armies to withdraw. During the following seven days of pursuit, the Turkish forces were pushed back to Jaffa. There followed three weeks of hard fighting in the Judean Hills before Jerusalem was captured on 9 December 1917. During five and a half weeks of almost continuous offensive operations, the EEF captured 47.5 miles (76.4 km) of territory.

After a joint attack by the XX and the Desert Mounted Corps, Beersheba at the eastern end of the Gaza to Beersheba line, was captured. The next day, on 1 November, the Battle of Tel el Khuweilfe began, with an advance north of Beersheba into the Judean foorhills, by the 53rd (Welsh) and the ANZAC Mounted Divisions. This move up the road from Beersheba to Jerusalem, also threatened Hebron and Bethlehem. Then, during the night of 1/2 November, the Third Battle of Gaza took place on the Mediterranean coast, when limited attacks by the XXI Corps were made against strongly held, formidable defences. The next day, the fiercely contested fighting south of Tel el Khuweilfe by the EEF was not designed to capture Hebron, but to create sufficient area for the deployment of the XX Corps, for a flank attack on the central defences of the old Gaza to Beersheba line. Fighting for the Beersheba to Jerusalem road, also encouraged the Turkish commanders to deploy their reserves, to hold the EEF threat. On 6 November the Battle of Hareira and Sheria was launched on the centre of the old line, half-way between Gaza and Beersheba, and Hareira was captured; but it was not until late the next day, that the Sheria position was finally captured by the 60th (London) Division, after a failed charge by the 4th Light Horse Brigade (Australian Mounted Division). The Seventh and the Eighth Armies were by now in full retreat from the remains of the old Gaza to Beersheba line.

On 7 November, the second day of the battle for Hareira and Sheria, the 52nd (Lowland) Division and the Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade advanced unopposed through Gaza to attack strong rearguard positions at Wadi el Hesi, which were captured the next day.

Transport in Beersheba

The Israeli city of Beersheba occupies a central role in southern Israel. Because of its central position in the Negev it is situated on important national routes reaching down to the far southern port of Eilat. Be'er Sheva is also home to a population of 195,000, with an estimated metro population at over 500,000 making it one of the largest cities in Israel. Much of the cities high-tech industry is concentrated in the center of the city, with Industrial estates existing in the south of the city, both of these areas are thus extensively served.

Climate data for Beersheba
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.5
(88.7)
35.2
(95.4)
38.4
(101.1)
43.8
(110.8)
44.8
(112.6)
46.0
(114.8)
42.0
(107.6)
43.8
(110.8)
43.8
(110.8)
41.7
(107.1)
38.3
(100.9)
32.5
(90.5)
46.0
(114.8)
Mean maximum °C (°F) 24.6
(76.3)
27.3
(81.1)
32.0
(89.6)
37.5
(99.5)
38.7
(101.7)
39.6
(103.3)
39.3
(102.7)
38.3
(100.9)
38.7
(101.7)
36.8
(98.2)
31.9
(89.4)
26.9
(80.4)
39.6
(103.3)
Average high °C (°F) 17.7
(63.9)
18.7
(65.7)
22.0
(71.6)
26.5
(79.7)
30.5
(86.9)
33.1
(91.6)
34.7
(94.5)
34.7
(94.5)
32.9
(91.2)
29.7
(85.5)
25.0
(77.0)
20.0
(68.0)
27.1
(80.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.4
(54.3)
13.2
(55.8)
15.9
(60.6)
19.7
(67.5)
23.2
(73.8)
26.1
(79.0)
28.0
(82.4)
28.1
(82.6)
26.2
(79.2)
23.2
(73.8)
18.6
(65.5)
14.4
(57.9)
20.7
(69.4)
Average low °C (°F) 7.1
(44.8)
7.7
(45.9)
9.8
(49.6)
12.8
(55.0)
16.0
(60.8)
19.0
(66.2)
21.3
(70.3)
21.5
(70.7)
19.6
(67.3)
16.7
(62.1)
12.2
(54.0)
8.8
(47.8)
14.4
(57.9)
Mean minimum °C (°F) 2.8
(37.0)
4.0
(39.2)
5.3
(41.5)
7.2
(45.0)
11.1
(52.0)
15.4
(59.7)
18.4
(65.1)
18.4
(65.1)
16.0
(60.8)
12.4
(54.3)
7.5
(45.5)
4.8
(40.6)
2.8
(37.0)
Record low °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
0.5
(32.9)
2.4
(36.3)
4
(39)
8
(46)
13.6
(56.5)
15.8
(60.4)
15.6
(60.1)
13
(55)
10.2
(50.4)
3.4
(38.1)
3
(37)
0.5
(32.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 48
(1.9)
40
(1.6)
29
(1.1)
9
(0.4)
3.6
(0.14)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.5
(0.02)
9
(0.4)
18
(0.7)
38
(1.5)
195.1
(7.76)
Average precipitation days 9 8 6 2 1 0 0 0 0.2 2 4 7 39.2
Average relative humidity (%) 50 48 44 35 34 36 38 41 43 42 42 48 42
Source #1: Israel Meteorological Service[89][90][91][92]
Source #2: Israel Meteorological Service[93]
Cities
Local councils
Regional councils
See also
Israeli cities with a 50,000+ population
200,000 and more
100,000–199,999
50,000–99,999

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