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Beersheba or Be'er Sheva (Hebrew באר שבע; Arabic بئر السبع Biʾr as-Sabʿ) is a city in Israel. It is the largest city of the Negev desert, and often known as the "Capital of the Negev" in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2001 the city had a total population of 177,900. The population in 2003 was around 200,000.
It is the administrative center for the southern region and home of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Soroka Hospital, and the Beer-Sheva Symphonietta.
The city dates back at least to the time of Abraham. The town center has streets in a grid-like pattern and was built by the Germans when the area was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The city has expanded considerably since 1948 and is inhabited mainly by people who originally immigrated to Israel from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union. Many Bedouin live in towns and encampments in the area.
On August 31, 2004, at least 16 people were killed in two suicide bombings on buses in Beersheba. Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks.
- Main article:History of Beersheba
Beer Sheva (literally, "Well of the Oath") was first mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis. It is believed to be the location of the oath between Abraham and Abimelech.
According to Genesis 21:31 "Beersheba" means "Well of Oath" and not the popular "Seven Wells".
An archeological site called "Tel Beer Sheva ", a few kilometers north-east of modern day Beer Sheva has evidence of being populated since the 4th millennium BC. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times during its history. The latest inhabitants of Tel Beer Sheva were the Byzantines, which abandoned the city at the 7th century AD.
List of mayors
According to CBS, in 2001 the ethnic makeup of the city was 98.9% Jewish and other non-Arab, with no significant Arab population. There are 2,339 immigrant settlers. See Population groups in Israel.
According to CBS, in 2001 there were 86,500 males and 91,400 females. The population of the city was spread out with 31.8% 19 years of age or younger, 17.4% between 20 and 29, 19.6% between 30 and 44, 15.8% from 45 to 59, 4.0% from 60 to 64, and 11.4% 65 years of age or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 2.9%.
According to CBS, as of 2000, in the city there were 61,016 salaried workers and 3,010 are self-employed. The mean monthly wage in 2000 for a salaried worker in the city is ILS 5,223, a real change of 5.3% over the course of 2000. Salaried males have a mean monthly wage of ILS 6,661 (a real change of 5.2%) versus ILS 3,760 for females (a real change of 3.9%). The mean income for the self-employed is 6,533. There are 4,719 people who receive unemployment benefits and 26,469 people who receive an income guarantee.
According to CBS, there are 81 schools and 33,623 students in the city. They are spread out as 60 elementary schools and 17,211 elementary school students, and 39 high schools and 16,412 high school students. 52.7% of 12th grade students were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001. Beer Sheva is also the home of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, offering bachelor, master and doctor degrees.
The most popular sport in Beer Sheva is Football lead by the Hapoel Beer Sheva team. The club was formed in 1949. The team has a history of two league championships (1975 and 1976), one national cup (1997) and two Toto cups (1989 and 1996). The local arena is the Wassermill stadium with a capacity of 14,000.
Beer Sheva is also the home of The Camels - a successful rugby team which has won national titles with its youth squad.
Other sports in Beer Sheva are wrestling, tennis and basketball.