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Beer Sheva
Hebrew: b'er sheva
Other spellings: Beer Sheba, Beersheba, Beer-Sheva

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Beer Sheva

Beer Sheva, Israel.
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Beer Sheva, Israel.

Beer Sheva, Israel.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Photo: Daniel Orenstein.

City in south-central Israel with 190,000 inhabitants (2008 estimate), the largest settlement of the Negev Desert.
Beer Sheva has been inhabited for thousands of years due to its steady supplies of water. This is used for irrigated agriculture in the surrounding region. Industries of Beer Sheva produce chemicals, processed minerals from the Dead Sea, porcelain, tiles and textiles.
Beer Sheva is linked with highways to urban centres to the north and good roads south in direction of Eilat, 220 km. Ashkelon is 60 km northwest, Jerusalem 130 km northeast and Tel Aviv 120 km north.
Beer Sheva is a modern town which has seen a number of fresh examples of modern architecture. The old quarters have long been neglected, but has in recent years being restored to attract tourism, including a few modest but interesting Ottoman buildings.
Beer Sheva has the Ben-Gurion University founded in 1965, as well as the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research.
Beer Sheva has a in insignificant number of Palestinians. Most of its inhabitant originate in Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.
Beer Sheva is mentioned in the Bible. It is said to be the place where Abraham made a covenant with King Abimelech of Gerar. He both dug a well here and planted a tamarisk tree. In the Judges 20:1 Beer Sheva is set down as the southernmost point of the Hebrew territory.

There are no records to the foundation of Beer Sheva, but it may be as far back as to the 4th millennium BCE.
4th century CE: Being part of the Byzantine Empire, Beer Sheva becomes a central part of the fortified border against the southern tribes.
630's: Falls to the Muslim Arabs.
1510's: Falls to the Ottoman Empire.
Around 1900: Urban establishments from the Ottoman side in Beer Sheva.
1917: Occupied by the British, from where Palestine and Syria could be conquered.
1947: According to the UN Partition Plan, Beer Sheva is rewarded to the Palestinians.
1948 October: Occupied by Israeli troops, and sees many Jewish settlers and quick urbanization.

By Tore Kjeilen