Be’er Sheva

Tel Be'er Sheva Overview 2007041

Beer-sheba, b’-AYR SHE-va, בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע
Beersheba (Wikipedia)
For other uses, see Beersheba (disambiguation).
  • בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע
  • بئر السبع
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Also spelled Beer-Sheva / Be'er Sheva (official)
Beersheba (unofficial)
Beersheba City Hall 6.jpg BSNU.jpg
בית המושל באר שבע.jpg Beer Sheba Israel IMG 6795.JPG
Kikar Hamitnadvim, Beersheba.jpg
Be'er Sheva at night.jpg
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.
Beer-Sheva is located in Israel
Coordinates: 31°15′32″N 34°47′58.95″E / 31.25889°N 34.7997083°E / 31.25889; 34.7997083Coordinates: 31°15′32″N 34°47′58.95″E / 31.25889°N 34.7997083°E / 31.25889; 34.7997083
Country  Israel
District Southern
 • Type City
 • Mayor Ruvik Danilovich
 • Total 117,500 dunams (117.5 km2 or 45.4 sq mi)
Elevation 260 m (850 ft)
Population (2015)
 • Total 203,604
Name meaning Well of the Oath or Seven Wells(see also)

Beer-Sheva (/bɪərˈʃbə/; Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַעAbout this sound Be'er Sheva [beʔeʁˈʃeva]; Arabic: بئر السبع‎‎ About this sound Bi'ir as-Sab  [biːr esˈsabeʕ]) 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 city in Israel with a population of 203,604, and the second largest city with a total of 117,500 dunams (after Jerusalem).

Beersheba grew in importance in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks built a regional police station there. 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. In 1947, Bir Seb'a (Arabic: بيئر شيبع‎‎), 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 then. 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.

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