The Negev (Hebrew: הַנֶּגֶב, Tiberian vocalization: han-Néḡeḇ ; Arabic: النقبan-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”.[a]

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.[2][3]

Israel-2013-Ein Avdat 02
Ein Avdat in the Zin Valley in the Negev
Southern District in Israel
Israel's South District, which includes the Negev
Sunset in the Negev Desert near Yeruham, Israel
Sunset in the Negev Desert near Yeruham, Israel

Etymology; other names

The origin of the word 'negev' is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'. In the Bible, the word Negev is also used for the direction 'south'; some English-language translations use the spelling "Negeb".

In Arabic, the Negev is known as al-Naqab or an-Naqb ("the [mountain] pass"),[4][5] though it was not thought of as a distinct region until the demarcation of the Egypt-Ottoman frontier in the 1890s and has no traditional Arabic name.[6]

During the British Mandate it was called Beersheba sub-district.[6]


The Negev covers more than half of Israel, over some 13,000 km² (4,700 sq mi) or at least 55% of the country's land area. It forms an inverted triangle shape whose western side is contiguous with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and whose eastern border is the Arabah valley. The Negev has a number of interesting cultural and geological features. Among the latter are three enormous, craterlike makhteshim (box canyons), which are unique to the region: Makhtesh Ramon, HaMakhtesh HaGadol, and HaMakhtesh HaKatan.

The Negev is a rocky desert. It is a melange of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters. It can be split into five different ecological regions: northern, western and central Negev, the high plateau and the Arabah Valley. The northern Negev, or Mediterranean zone, receives 300 mm of rain annually and has fairly fertile soils. The western Negev receives 250 mm of rain per year, with light and partially sandy soils. Sand dunes can reach heights of up to 30 metres here. Home to the city of Beersheba, the central Negev has an annual precipitation of 200 mm and is characterized by impervious soil, known as loess, allowing minimum penetration of water with greater soil erosion and water runoff. The high plateau area of Negev Mountains/Ramat HaNegev (Hebrew: רמת הנגב‎, The Negev Heights) stands between 370 metres and 520 metres above sea level with extreme temperatures in summer and winter. The area gets 100 mm of rain per year, with inferior and partially salty soils. The Arabah Valley along the Jordanian border stretches 180 km from Eilat in the south to the tip of the Dead Sea in the north. The Arabah Valley is very arid with barely 50 mm of rain annually. It has inferior soils in which little can grow without irrigation and special soil additives.

Flora and fauna

Tulipa systola 1
Spring blooms in the Negev

Vegetation in the Negev is sparse, but certain trees and plants thrive there, among them Acacia, Pistacia, Retama, Urginea maritima and Thymelaea.[7] A small population of Arabian leopards, an endangered animal in the Arabian peninsula, survives in the southern Negev.[8] The Negev Tortoise (Testudo werneri) is a critically endangered species that currently lives only in the sands of the western and central Negev Desert.[9] The Negev shrew (Crocidura ramona) is a species of mammal of the family Soricidae found only in Israel.[10] Hyphaene thebaica or doum palm can be found in the Southern Negev. Evrona is the most northerly point in the world where this palm can be found.


The Negev region is arid (Eilat receives on average only 24 mm of rainfall a year), receiving very little rain due to its location to the east of the Sahara (as opposed to the Mediterranean which lies to the west of Israel), and extreme temperatures due to its location 31 degrees north. However the northernmost areas of the Negev, including Beersheba, are semi-arid. The usual rainfall total from June through October is zero. Snow and frost are rare in the northern Negev, and snow and frost are unknown in the vicinity of Eilat in the southernmost Negev.[11]


Acacia Negev
Of the three Acacia species growing in high plateau of the Negev, Acacia pachyceras is the most cold-resistant.


Nomadic life in the Negev dates back at least 4,000 years[18] and perhaps as much as 7,000 years.[19]

The first urbanized settlements were established by a combination of Canaanite, Amalekite, Amorite, Nabataean and Edomite groups circa 2000 BC.[18] Pharaonic Egypt is credited with introducing copper mining and smelting in both the Negev and the Sinai between 1400 and 1300 BC.[18][20]


In the Bible, the term Negev only relates to the northern, semiarid part of what we call Negev today, located in the general area of the Arad-Beersheba Valley.

According to the Book of Genesis chapter 13, Abraham lived for a while in the Negev after being banished from Egypt.[21] During the Exodus journey to the promised land, Moses sent twelve scouts into the Negev to assess the land and population.[22] Later the northern part of biblical Negev was inhabited by the Tribe of Judah and the southern part of biblical Negev by the Tribe of Simeon. The Negev was later part of the Kingdom of Solomon (in its entirety, all the way to the Red Sea), and then, with varied extension to the south, part of the Kingdom of Judah.[23]

In the 9th century BC, development and expansion of mining in both the Negev and Edom (modern Jordan) coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire.[18] Beersheba was the region's capital and a center for trade in the 8th century BC.[18] Small settlements of Israelites in the areas around the capital existed between 1020 and 928 BC.[18]

Nabateans and Romans

Ruins in Negev desert Israe
Archaeological ruins in the Negev

The 4th century BC arrival of the Nabateans resulted in the development of irrigation systems that supported new urban centers located along the Negev incense route at Avdat, Mamshit, Shivta, Haluza (Elusa), and Nitzana.[18] The Nabateans controlled the trade on the spice route between their capital Petra and the Gazan seaports. Nabatean currency and the remains of red and orange potsherds, identified as a trademark of their civilization, have been found along the route, remnants of which are also still visible.[18] Nabatean control of the Negev ended when the Roman empire annexed their lands in 106 AD.[18] The population, largely made up of Arabian nomads, remained largely tribal and independent of Roman rule, with an animist belief system.[18]


Byzantine rule in the 4th century AD introduced Christianity to the population.[18] Agricultural-based cities were established and the population grew exponentially.[18]

Islamic empires

The southern Negev saw a flourishing of economic activity during the 8th to 10th or 11th centuries.[24] Six Islamic settlements have been found in the vicinity of modern Eilat, along with copper and gold mines and stone quarries, and a sophisticated irrigation system and road network.[24] The economic center was the port of Ayla (Aqaba).[24]

Ottoman era

Tel arad all
Tel Arad inhabited since 4000 BCE

Nomadic tribes ruled the Negev largely independently and with a relative lack of interference for the next thousand years.[18] What is known of this time is largely derived from oral histories and folk tales of tribes from the Wadi Musa and Petra areas in present-day Jordan.[18] The Bedouins of the Negev historically survived chiefly on sheep and goat husbandry. Scarcity of water and of permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly. The Bedouin in years past established few permanent settlements, although some were built, leaving behind remnants of stone houses called 'baika.'[19] In 1900 the Ottoman Empire established an administrative center for southern Syria at Beersheba including schools and a railway station.[18] The authority of the tribal chiefs over the region was recognized by the Ottomans.[18] A railroad connected it to the port of Rafah. In 1914 the Turkish authorities estimated the nomadic population at 55,000.[25]

British rule

Possible Redistribution of Ottoman and Arabian Territory on the Principle of Self-Determination November 1918
A map considered by the British Cabinet in 1918 suggested that the Negev could be included in either Palestine or Egypt.[26]

The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France placed the Negev in Area B, "Arab state or states" under British patronage.[27] The Negev was taken from the Ottoman army by British forces during 1917 and became part of Mandatory Palestine.

In 1922, the Bedouin component of the population was estimated at 72,898 out of a total of 75,254 for the Beersheba sub-district.[25] The 1931 census estimated that the population of the Beersheba sub-district was 51,082.[28] This large decrease was considered to be an artifact of incorrect enumeration methods used in 1922.[25] An Arabic history of tribes around Beersheba, published in 1934 records 23 tribal groups.[29]

PikiWiki Israel 43466 Rahat
Rahat, the largest Bedouin city in the Negev

Israeli rule

In 1948 the Negev came under Israeli rule. In the early years of the state, it absorbed many of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, with the Israeli government setting up many development towns, such as Arad, Sderot and Netivot. Since then, the Negev has also become home to many of the Israel Defense Forces major bases - a process accelerating in the past two decades.


As of 2010, the Negev was home to some 630,000 people (or 8.2% of Israel's population), even though it comprises over 55% of the country's area. 470,000 Negev residents or 75% of the population of the Negev are Jews, while 160,000 or 25% are Bedouin.[30] Of the Bedouin population (a demographic with a semi-nomadic tradition), half live in unrecognized villages, and half live in towns built for them by the Israeli government between the 1960s and 1980s; the largest of these is Rahat.

The population of the Negev is expected to reach 1.2 million by 2025. It has been projected that the Beersheba metropolitan area will reach a population of 1 million by 2020, and Arad, Yeruham, and Dimona will triple in size by 2025.[31][32]

Economy and housing

Development plans

Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project introduced in 2005. The $600 million project hopes to continue Israel's past environmental successes in 'making the desert bloom' and attract 500,000 new Jewish residents to the Negev by improving transportation infrastructure, establishing businesses, developing water resources and introducing programs to protect the environment.[33] A planned artificial desert river, swimming pools and golf courses raised concerns among environmentalists.[34][35] Critics oppose those plans, calling instead for an inclusive plan for the green vitalization of existing population centers, investment in Bedouin villages, clean-up of toxic industries and development of job options for the unemployed.[36][37][38] [39]

A major Israel Defense Forces training base is being constructed in the Negev to accommodate 10,000 army personnel and 2,500 civilian staff. Three more bases will be built by 2020 as part of a plan to vacate land and buildings in Tel Aviv and central Israel, and bring jobs and investment to the south.[40]

Solar power

Solar troughs in the Negev desert of Israel
Solar troughs in the Negev

The Negev Desert and the surrounding area, including the Arava Valley, are the sunniest parts of Israel and little of this land is arable, which is why it has become the center of the Israeli solar industry.[41] David Faiman, an expert on solar energy, feels the energy needs of Israel's future could be met by building solar energy plants in the Negev. As director of Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center, he operates one of the largest solar dishes in the world.[42] Technically, however, the Arava is a separate desert with its own unique climate and ecology.

A 250 MW solar park in Ashalim, an area in the northern Negev, the Ashalim Power Station, produces 121 Megawatts of energy, using solar mirrors and thermal water heating. It is currently the largest in Israel.

The Rotem Industrial Complex outside of Dimona, Israel, has dozens of solar mirrors that focus the Sun's rays on a tower that in turn heats a water boiler to create steam, turning a turbine to create electricity. Luz II, Ltd., plans to use the solar array to test new technology for the three new solar plants to be built in California for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.[43][44][45]


Yatir Forest 2005, produced by Yatir Winery in the Negev

Vines have been planted in the Negev since ancient times. In modern times, vineyards have been established in the northern Negev hills using innovative computerized watering methods for irrigation. Carmel Winery was the first of the major wineries to plant vineyards in the Negev and operates a boutique winery at Ramat Arad. Tishbi has vineyards at Sde Boker and Barkan grows its grapes in Mitzpe Ramon.[46] Yatir Winery is a boutique winery in Tel Arad. Its vineyards are on a hill 900 meters above sea level on the outskirts of Yatir Forest.[47] Carmey Avdat is Israel's first solar-powered winery.[48]

Environmental issues

The Negev is home to hazardous infrastructures that include Negev Nuclear Research Center nuclear reactor, 22 agrochemical and petrochemical factories, an oil terminal, closed military zones, quarries, a toxic waste incinerator at Ne'ot Hovav, cell towers, a power plant, several airports, a prison, and 2 rivers of open sewage.[49]

In 2005, the Tel Aviv municipality was accused of dumping waste in the Negev at the Dudaim dump.[50] The Manufacturers Association of Israel established an authority in 2005 to move 60 industrial enterprises active in the Tel Aviv region to the Negev.[51]

In 1979, the Ramat Hovav toxic waste facility was established in Wadi el-Na'am because the area was perceived as invulnerable to leakage. However, within a decade, cracks were found in the rock beneath Ramat Hovav.[49] In 2004, the Israeli Ministry of Health released Ben Gurion University research findings describing the health problems in a 20 km vicinity of Ramat Hovav. The study, funded in large part by Ramat Hovav, found higher rates of cancer and mortality for the 350,000 people in the area. Prematurely released to the media by an unknown source, the preliminary study was publicly discredited;[52] However, its final conclusions – that Bedouin and Jewish residents near Ramat Hovav are significantly more susceptible than the rest of the population to miscarriages, severe birth defects, and respiratory diseases – passed a peer review several months later.[53]

See also


  1. ^ Biger 2004, p. 181; Biger references 10 July 1922 meeting notes, file 2.179, CZA.
  2. ^ Gattegno, Ilan (October 26, 2012). "Negev named among top ten travel destinations for 2013". Israel Hayom. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  3. ^ "Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 regions". Lonely Planet. October 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Moshe Sharon (1997). 'Aqabah (Ailah). Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae. Handbook of Oriental Studies/Handbuch Der Orientalistik. Leiden & Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 89–90. ISBN 9789004108332. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. In fact, there are two mountain passes through which the road of Aylah has to cross. The western one crosses the mountain ridge to the west of the gulf, and through it passes the main road from Egypt which cuts through the whole width of Sinai, coming from Cairo via Suez. This mountain pass is also called 'Aqabat Aylah, or as it is better known, "Naqb al-'Aqabah" or "Ras an-Naqb."
  5. ^ Hertzog, Esther; Abuhav, Orit; Goldberg, Harvey E.; Marx, Emanuel (8 May 2018). "Perspectives on Israeli Anthropology". Wayne State University Press. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b Palestine Exploration Quarterly (April 1941). The Negev, or Southern Desert of Palestine by George E. Kirk. London. Page 57.
  7. ^ Bailey, C.; Danin, A. (1981). "Bedouin plant utilization in Sinai and the Negev". Economic Botany. 35 (2): 145. doi:10.1007/BF02858682.
  8. ^ "Gulf-Environment: Arabian Leopard Faces Extinction". Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Re-introduction - Negev tortoise". Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Crocidura ramona (Negev Shrew)". Archived from the original on 2 November 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Beersheba, ISR Weather". MSN. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  12. ^ "Averages and Records for Beersheba (Precipitation, Temperature and Records [Excluding January and June] written in the page)". Israel Meteorological Service. August 2011. Archived from the original on 2010-09-14.
  13. ^ "Records Data for Israel (Data used only for January and June)". Israel Meteorological Service. Archived from the original on 2011-08-23.
  14. ^ "Averages and Records for Tel Aviv (Precipitation, Temperature and Records written in the page)". Israel Meteorological Service. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010.(in Hebrew)
  15. ^ "Extremes for Tel Aviv [Records of February and May]". Israel Meteorological Service. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.(in Hebrew)
  16. ^ "Temperature average". Israel Meteorological Service. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2011.(in Hebrew)
  17. ^ "Precipitation average". Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.(in Hebrew)
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mariam Shahin. Palestine: A Guide. (2005) Interlink Books. ISBN 1-56656-557-X
  19. ^ a b Israel Finkelstein; Avi Perevolotsky (Aug 1990). "Processes of Sedentarization and Nomadization in the History of Sinai and the Negev". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (279): 67–88.
  20. ^ J. M. Tebes (2008). "Centro y periferia en el mundo antiguo. El Negev y sus interacciones con Egipto, Asiria, y el Levante en la Edad del Hierro (1200-586 A.D.) ANEM 1. SBL - CEHAO" (PDF).
  21. ^ Genesis 13:1,3
  22. ^ Numbers 13:17
  23. ^ Evenari, Michael; Shanan, Leslie; Tadmor, Naphtali (8 May 1982). "The Negev: The Challenge of a Desert". Harvard University Press. Retrieved 8 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ a b c Uzi Avner and Jodi Magness (1998). "Early Islamic settlement in the Southern Negev". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 310: 39–57. doi:10.2307/1357577.
  25. ^ a b c Palestine, Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922, October 1922, J.B. Barron, Superintendent of the Census, pages 4,7
  26. ^ Map from CAB 24/72/7 Archived 2016-11-07 at the Wayback Machine: "Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula", forming an annex to: CAB 24/72/6 Archived 2016-11-07 at the Wayback Machine, a British Cabinet memorandum on "The Settlement of Turkey and the Arablan Peninsula"
  27. ^ Gideon Biger (2004). The Boundaries of Modem Palestine, 1840-1947. RoutledgeCurzon. p. 64.
  28. ^ Census of Palestine 1931, Volume I. Palestine Part I, Report. Alexandria, 1933, p49.
  29. ^ Palestine Exploration Quarterly. (October 1937 & January 1938) Notes on the Bedouin Tribes of Beersheba District. by S. Hillelson. Translations from A History of Beersheba and the Tribes thereof (Ta'rikh Bir al-Saba' wa qaba'iliha). by 'Arif al-'Arif.
  30. ^ "A Bedouin welcome - Israel Travel, Ynetnews". 1995-06-20. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  31. ^ Udasin, Sharon. "'1.2 million residents in the Negev by 2025' | JPost | Israel News". JPost. Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  32. ^ "תוכנית באר שבע אושרה; המטרה – מיליון תושבים עד שנת 2020". 1995-06-20. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2014-01-19.
  33. ^ Archived August 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Orenstein, Daniel (March 25, 2007). "When an ecological community is not". Archived from the original on September 25, 2009.
  35. ^ [1] Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Daniel Orenstein and Steven Hamburg (November 28, 2005). "The JNF's Assault on the Negev". The Jerusalem Report. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  37. ^ "Ohalah resolution". Archived from the original on 2013-07-02.
  38. ^ "Neohasid's Save the Negev Campaign". Archived from the original on 2013-12-15.
  39. ^ Manski, Rebecca (9 November 2010). "Blueprint Negev". MERIP/Mondoweiss. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  40. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  41. ^ Ehud Zion Waldoks (March 10, 2008). "Head of Kibbutz Movement: We will not be discriminated against by the government". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  42. ^ Lettice, John (January 25, 2008). "Giant solar plants in Negev could power Israel's future". The Register. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013.
  43. ^ "Calif. solar power test begins — in Israeli desert". Associated Press. June 12, 2008. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  44. ^ Rabinovitch, Ari (June 11, 2008). "Israel site for California solar power test". Reuters.
  45. ^ Washington   (2008-05-08). "Building Small Prototype Homes, an Israeli Solar Experiment | News | English". Archived from the original on 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  46. ^ Israel's Wine Regions Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ Rogov, Daniel (2009). Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wine. London, England: Toby Press. p. 467. ISBN 978-1613290194.
  48. ^ "Sunday Energy and Carmey Avdat Winery Helping Produce Israel's First Solar Powered Wine". Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  49. ^ a b Manski, Rebecca. "Bedouin Vilified Among Top 10 Environmental Hazards in Israel". AIC. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  50. ^ Berger, Gali (October 12, 2005). "Sin of waste / Municipal garbage that's out of sight, out of mind". Haaretz. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011.
  51. ^ Manor, Hadas (August 11, 2005). "Manufacturers promoting transfer of 60 factories to Negev". Globes. Archived from the original on November 22, 2005.
  52. ^ Manski, Rebecca (2005). "The Bedouin as Worker-Nomad". Archived from the original on 2011-10-03.
  53. ^ Sarov, Batia, and peers at Ben Gurion University: “Major congenital malformations and residential proximity to a regional industrial park including a national toxic waste site: An ecological study;” Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 2006, 5:8; Bentov et al., licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  1. ^ Biger described this meeting as follows: “Sovereignty over the Arava, from the south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, was also discussed. Philby agreed, in Trans-Jordan’s name, to give up the western bank of Wadi Arava (and thus all of the Negev area). Nevertheless, a precise borderline was still not determined along the territories of Palestine and Trans-Jordan. Philby’s relinquishment of the Negev was necessary, because the future of this area was uncertain. In a discussion regarding the southern boundary, the Egyptian aspiration to acquire the Negev area was presented. On the other hand the southern part of Palestine belonged, according to one of the versions, to the sanjak (district) of Ma’an within the vilayet (province) of Hejaz. King Hussein of Hijaz demanded to receive this area after claiming that a transfer action, to add it to the vilayet of Syria (A-Sham) was supposed to be done in 1908. It is not clear whether this action was completed. Philby claimed that Emir Abdullah had his father’s permission to negotiate over the future of the sanjak of Ma’an, which was actually ruled by him, and that he could therefore ‘afford to concede’ the area west of the Arava in favour of Palestine. This concession was made following British pressure and against the background of the demands of the Zionist Organization for direct contact between Palestine and the Red Sea. It led to the inclusion of the Negev triangle in Palestine’s territory, although this area was not considered as part of the country in the many centuries that preceded the British occupation.”[1]


External links

Coordinates: 30°30′00″N 34°55′01″E / 30.500°N 34.917°E

1948 Arab–Israeli War

The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, or the First Arab–Israeli War, was fought between the newly declared State of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states over the control of former British Palestine, forming the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war.The first deaths of the 1948 war occurred on November 30, 1947, during an ambush of two buses carrying Jews.There had been tension and conflict between the Arabs and the Jews, and between each of them and the British forces, ever since the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1920 creation of the British Mandate of Palestine. British policies dissatisfied both Arabs and Jews. The opposition by the Arabs developed into the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, while the Jewish resistance developed into the Jewish insurgency in Palestine (1944–1947). In 1947 these ongoing tensions erupted into civil war, following the 29 November 1947 adoption of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which planned to divide Palestine into three areas: an Arab state, a Jewish state and the Special International Regime for the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

On 15 May 1948, the ongoing civil war transformed into an inter-state conflict between Israel and the Arab states, following the Israeli Declaration of Independence the previous day. A combined invasion by Egypt, Jordan and Syria, together with expeditionary forces from Iraq, entered Palestine – Jordan having declared privately to Yishuv emissaries on 2 May that it would abide by a decision not to attack the Jewish state. The invading forces took control of the Arab areas and immediately attacked Israeli forces and several Jewish settlements. The 10 months of fighting, interrupted by several truce periods, took place mostly on the former territory of the British Mandate and for a short time also in the Sinai Peninsula and southern Lebanon.As a result of the war, the State of Israel controlled both the area that the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 had recommended for the proposed Jewish state as well as almost 60% of the area of Arab state proposed by the 1948 Partition Plan, including the Jaffa, Lydda and Ramle area, Galilee, some parts of the Negev, a wide strip along the Tel Aviv–Jerusalem road, West Jerusalem and some territories in the West Bank. Transjordan took control of the remainder of the former British mandate, which it annexed, and the Egyptian military took control of the Gaza Strip. At the Jericho Conference on 1 December 1948, 2,000 Palestinian delegates called for unification of Palestine and Transjordan as a step toward full Arab unity. No state was created for the Palestinian Arabs.

The conflict triggered significant demographic change throughout the Middle East. Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes in the area that became Israel, and they became Palestinian refugees in what they refer to as Al-Nakba ("the catastrophe"). In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, with many of them having been expelled from their previous countries of residence in the Middle East.


Al-Khalasa (Arabic: الخلصة‎, al-Khalasah; Hebrew: אל-ח'אלצה, al-Khalatsah), was a Palestinian village, located 23 kilometers southwest of the city of Beersheba. The oldest known names of the village are "Halasa" or "Chellous" and it was founded by the Nabateans or invading Mediterranean Plishtim, and then was called "Elusa" under the Byzantines where it served an administrative center in the Negev Desert. It continued as a major town by its modern name "al-Khalasa" during Mamluk rule, but was abandoned sometime in the fifteenth century CE. The ancient city was looted by Muslim Turks in the late 1800s, and many inscriptions from looted ancient Halasa were found by archaeologists later in the Arab Gaza Strip -- rendering the site of little archaeological value. It was repopulated by Bedouin in the early twentieth century, after western archaeologists took an interest in it. In October 1948, it was captured by Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The population of al-Khalasa is unknown, but all of the inhabitants were Muslims, from the al-Azizma tribe.


Avdat (Hebrew: עבדת‎, from Arabic: عبدة‎, Abdah), also known as Abdah and Ovdat and Obodat, is a site of a ruined Nabataean city in the Negev desert in southern Israel. It was the most important city on the Incense Route after Petra, between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE. It was founded in the 3rd century BCE, and inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans, and Byzantines. Avdat was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra–Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd – late 2nd century BCE. The city's original name was changed to Avdat in honor of Nabataean King Obodas I, who, according to tradition, was revered as a deity and was buried there.


The Bedouin or Bedu (; Arabic: بَدْو‎ badw, singular بَدَوِي badawī) are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East. They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans (known in Arabic as ʿašāʾir; عَشَائِر), and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam.Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and Arabaa by the Assyrians (ar-ba-a-a being a nisba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today). They are referred to as the ʾAʿrāb (أعراب) in the Quran.

While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as retaining the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry, dances (such as saas), and many other cultural practices and concepts. Urbanised Bedouins often organise cultural festivals, usually held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in and learn about various Bedouin traditions—from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances to playing traditional instruments and even classes teaching traditional tent knitting. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.


Beersheba, also Be'er Sheva (; 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, 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. 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.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.Beersheba is home to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. This city also serves as a center for Israel's high-tech industry.

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.


Dimona (Hebrew: דִּימוֹנָה) is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, 36 kilometres (22 mi) to the south of Beersheba and 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. In 2017 its population was 33,666.

Geography of Israel

The geography of Israel is very diverse, with desert conditions in the south, and snow-capped mountains in the north. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt. To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which makes up the majority of Israel's 273 km (170 mi) coastline and the Gaza Strip. Israel has a small coastline on the Red Sea in the south.

Israel's area is approximately 20,770 km2 (8,019 sq mi), which includes 445 km2 (172 sq mi) of inland water. Israel stretches 424 km (263 mi) from north to south, and its width ranges from 114 km (71 mi) to, at its narrowest point, 15 km (9.3 mi).The Israeli-occupied territories include the West Bank, 5,879 km2 (2,270 sq mi), East Jerusalem, 70 km2 (27 sq mi) and the Golan Heights, 1,150 km2 (444 sq mi). Geographical features in these territories will be noted as such. Of these areas, Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, an act not recognised by the international community.

Southern Israel is dominated by the Negev desert, covering some 16,000 square kilometres (6,178 sq mi), more than half of the country's total land area. The north of the Negev contains the Judean Desert, which, at its border with Jordan, contains the Dead Sea which, at −417 m (−1,368 ft) is the lowest point on Earth. The inland area of central Israel is dominated by the Judean Hills of the West Bank, whilst the central and northern coastline consists of the flat and fertile Israeli coastal plain. Inland, the northern region contains the Mount Carmel mountain range, which is followed inland by the fertile Jezreel Valley, and then the hilly Galilee region. The Sea of Galilee is located beyond this, and is bordered to the east by the Golan Heights, a plateau bordered to the north by the Israeli-occupied part of the Mount Hermon massif, which includes the highest point under Israel's control, a peak of 2,224 meters (7,297 ft). The highest point in territory internationally recognized as Israeli is Mount Meron at 1,208 meters (3,963 ft).

IWI Negev

The Negev is a 5.56×45mm NATO light machine gun developed by the Israeli firearm manufacturer, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) (formerly Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) of Ramat HaSharon).

In 2012, IWI introduced the Negev NG-7 7.62×51mm NATO general-purpose machine gun.

List of radio stations in Israel

This is a list of radio stations in Israel.

Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee

The Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee (Hebrew: הַמִּשְׂרָד לְפִּיתּוּחַ הַפֶּרִיפֶרְיָה, הַנֶּגֶב וְהַגָּלִיל, HaMisrad LeFitu'ah HaPeriferya, HaNegev VeHaGalil) is a ministry in the Israeli government. Established in January 2005, the current minister is Aryeh Deri of Shas.

In the past, there was also a Development Minister. However, this post was succeeded in the 1970s by the Energy and Infrastructure Minister (today the National Infrastructure Minister).

Monument to the Negev Brigade

The Monument to the Negev Brigade (Hebrew: אנדרטת חטיבת הנגב‎, Andartat Hativat HaNegev), known locally as the Andarta, is a monument designed by Dani Karavan in memory of the members of the Palmach Negev Brigade who fell fighting on Israel's side during the 1948 Arab Israeli War. It is situated on a hill overlooking the city of Beersheba from the east and constitutes a recognized symbol of the Negev and Beersheba. In addition to its strengths as a memorial, it was a precursor to the land art movement.The monument was built between 1963 and 1968 at a time when Israel was making many physical memorials to those who fought and died in its wars. It is made of raw concrete consisting of eighteen separate elements covering 10,000 square meters. These elements are symbolic and connected to Palmach and to the War of Independence.

The perforated tower alludes to a watchtower shelled with gunfire and the pipeline tunnel is reminiscent of the channel of water in the Negev defended by the soldiers. Engraved in the concrete are the names of the 324 soldiers who died in the war, the badge of the Palmach, diary passages from the soldiers, the battle registry, verses (from the Bible 2 Kings 2:12) and songs.

Negev Bedouin

The Negev Bedouin (Arabic: بدو النقب‎, Badū an-Naqab; Hebrew: הבדואים בנגב, HaBedu'im BaNegev) are traditionally pastoral nomadic Arab tribes (Bedouin) living in the Negev region of Israel. The Bedouin tribes adhere to Islam.From 1858 during Ottoman rule, the Negev Bedouin underwent a process of sedentarization which accelerated after the founding of Israel. In the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, most resettled in neighbouring regions. Between 1968 and 1989, Israel built seven townships in the northeast of the Negev for the Bedouin population, with about half of them relocating to these areas. Others remained in unrecognized villages built without planning which lacked basic services such as electricity and running water. The Israeli government has gradually recognized some of them and taken measures to improve infrastructure and basic services, while the majority are slated for destruction with the population facing forced displacement. The Prawer Plan was drawn up to address land ownership claims and compensation. The plan also called for the evacuation of 35 unrecognized villages and the resettlement of residents in existing or new towns. According to human rights organizations opposed to the plan, it discriminated against the Bedouin population of the Negev and violated the community's historic land rights. In December 2013, the plan was rescinded.The Bedouin population in the Negev numbers 200,000-210,000. Just over half of them live in seven government-built Bedouin-only towns; the remaining 90,000 live in 46 villages – 35 of which are unrecognized and 11 of which were officially recognized in 2003.

Negev shrew

The Negev shrew (Crocidura ramona), also known as the Ramon's shrew (Hebrew: חדף הרמון‎, ḥadaf haramon) is a species of mammal in the family Soricidae. So far, it is only known from Israel. It is found in three regions: Mizpe Ramon and Sede Boqer in the Negev Desert, and Sartaber at the northern edge of the Judean Desert. It is likely that the species occurs more widely in the region than currently known (i.e., in Jordan, where similar habitats and Crocidura species have not been well surveyed). The three locations in which the species occur are rocky desert areas at altitudes between 200 and 950 metres above sea level. The Negev shrew is light gray with a slightly lighter underpart. It is also relatively small.

Only seven specimens have been collected. The Negev shrew is likely to be more widespread in the region than currently known and there are no known threats at present. More data on range population densities and trends, and potential threats would be useful for a future reassessment, but it is currently assessed as Least Concern. Of the six known localities, this species has been found in five protected areas.

The Negev shrew is found either in or near to dry river beds with Retama and Tamarix vegetation or near to dry river beds with dense Atriplex vegetation. During surveys no other Crocidura species were found to be co-occurring with C. ramona, the only other shrew which it was found together with was Suncus etruscus. From 1999 to 2006 no specimens have been found; this is likely to be due to poor precipitation leading perhaps to lower populations and/or making the species more difficult to capture as it enters deeper soil layers. It is a naturally rare habitat specialist.

Operation Yoav

Operation Yoav (also called Operation Ten Plagues or Operation Yo'av) was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road, and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev. Operation Yoav was headed by the Southern Front commander Yigal Allon. The operation was named after Yitzhak Dubno, codenamed "Yoav" by his commanders in the Palmach. Dubno, a senior Palmach officer, was charged with planning and leading the defense of the kibbutzim Negba and Yad Mordechai. Dubno was killed in an air raid on Kibbutz Negba shortly after Egyptian forces began their offensive on Israel's southern front.

Ramat Negev Regional Council

Ramat Negev Regional Council (Hebrew: מועצה אזורית רמת נגב‎, Mo'atza Azorit Ramat Negev, lit. Negev Heights Regional Council) is a regional council in the Negev desert in Israel. The largest regional council in the country, its headquarters are located on Highway 40 between Mashabei Sadeh and Tlalim.

Sdot Negev Regional Council

Sdot Negev Regional Council (Hebrew: מועצה אזורית שדות נגב‎, Mo'atza Azorit Sdot Negev, lit. Negev Fields Regional Council), formerly Azata Regional Council (Hebrew: מועצה אזורית עזתה‎, Mo'atza Azorit Azata) is a regional council in the northwestern Negev desert in the Southern District of Israel.

Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center

The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center (Hebrew: קריה למחקר גרעיני – נגב צ"ש שמעון פרס‎, formerly the Negev Nuclear Research Center, unofficially sometimes referred to as the Dimona reactor) is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers south-east of the city of Dimona. In August 2018, it was renamed after the late President and Prime Minister of Israel, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres.Construction of the facility began in 1958 and its heavy-water nuclear reactor went active sometime between 1962-1964. Israel claims that the nuclear reactor and research facility is for research purposes into atomic science. However, the purpose of the reactor is believed to be the production of nuclear materials that may be used in Israel's nuclear weapons. Information about the facility remains highly classified and with respect to nuclear weapons the country maintains a policy known as nuclear ambiguity—refusing either to confirm or deny their possession. Israel had produced its first nuclear weapons by 1967 and it has been estimated to possess anywhere between 80-400 nuclear weapons.The airspace over the Dimona facility is closed to all aircraft, and the area around it is heavily guarded and fenced off. During the Six-Day War, an Israeli missile shot down an Israeli Air Force Dassault Ouragan fighter that inadvertently flew over Dimona.


Shivta (Hebrew: שבטה‎, Arabic: شبطا‎) is an ancient city in the Negev Desert of Israel located 43 kilometers southwest of Beersheba. Shivta was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2005.

Climate data for Beersheba
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.4
Average high °C (°F) 16.7
Average low °C (°F) 7.5
Record low °C (°F) −5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 49.6
Average precipitation days 9.2 8 6.4 2.6 0.8 0 0 0 0.1 1.8 4.6 7.5 41
Source: Israel Meteorological Service[12][13]
Climate data for Eilat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.2
Average high °C (°F) 21.3
Average low °C (°F) 10.4
Record low °C (°F) 1.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 4
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.1 1.8 1.6 0.9 0.7 0 0 0 0 0.7 0.8 1.9 10.5
Source: Israel Meteorological Service[14][15][16][17]
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