Beersheba

Beersheba in Wikipedia

Beersheba (Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע‎, Be'er Sheva; Greek: Βηρσαβεε; Latin: Bersabee; Arabic: بئر السبع‎, Bi'r as-Sab` (info); Turkish: Birüssebi) is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300.[1] 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. When the Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution declaring Israel an independent state, the Egyptian army amassed its forces in Beersheba as a strategic and logistical base. In October 1948, the city was conquered by the Israel Defense Forces.[2] Beersheba has grown considerably since then. A large portion of the population is made up of Jews who immigrated from Arab countries after 1948, and has been significantly boosted since 1990 by immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. Etymology There are several etymologies for the origin of the name "Beersheba": The oath of Abraham and Abimelech (well of the oath) 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) The seven ewes 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). History - Prehistory The findings unearthed at Tel Be'er Sheva, an archaeological site a few kilometers northeast of modern day Beersheba, suggest the region has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC.[3] The city has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. Prehistoric era - Human settlement in the area dates from the Copper Age. The inhabitants lived in caves, crafting metal tools and raising cattle.[4] Israelite era - The town was founded by the Israelites during the 10th century BC, on the site of what is today referred to as Tel Be'er Sheva, after the land was conquered by King David. The ruins of the original Israelite settlement remain largely intact. 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. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories actually settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.[5] Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in connection with Abraham the Patriarch and his pact with Abimelech. 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 Shimon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14).[5] Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the slaves returned from Babylon, the town was resettled. [edit]Roman and Byzantine era During the Roman and later Byzantine periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er-Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century...

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Travel to Beer Sheva

Beer Sheva is at first sight highly disappointing for any visitor. As one enters the city, the oversized avenues and partially run down residential building blocks from the fifties and sixties make for an unwelcoming first impression. However, Beer Sheva can be of interest for any traveller who wishes to experience Israel off-the- beaten-track and there might be no better place to do this, since not even most Israelis are aware that Beer Sheva can be much more than only a stopover on the way to Eilat. The old Turkish town, as run down as it might be, has a very distinct feel and a is hugely underrated: it is the only planned Ottoman city in the entire region, erected in 1900 for strategic reasons in order to secure the Negev region and to control the restive Bedouin population. Today, the architectural and historical jewels, culinary highlights, highly welcoming people and the provincial atmosphere of Beer Sheva allow for the visitor to explore the "normal" and "unpretentious" Israel beyond Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. In addition to that, Beer Sheva offers a vibrant student community - based around the University - which has developed a great nightlife one would never expect at first sight. Beer Sheva and its surroundings give a feel of Israels strength. On the way down from the North, endless fields with agriculture have replaced desolate dessert; as Isaiah prophesied: "Thirsty deserts will be glad; barren lands will celebrate and blossom with flowers". Also, like Tel-Aviv, a modern skyskraper city has been created out of virtually nothing. Yet, an exciting feel of desert has remained, as Beer Sheva looks with one side right into the Negev desert.

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Ancient History of Beersheba

The town was founded by the Israelites during the 10th century BC, on the site of what is today referred to as Tel Be'er Sheva, after the land was conquered by King David. The ruins of the original Israelite settlement remain largely intact. 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. According to the Hebrew Bible, Beersheba was the southernmost city of the territories actually settled by Israelites, hence the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" to describe the whole kingdom.[5] Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis in connection with Abraham the Patriarch and his pact with Abimelech. 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 Shimon and Judah (Joshua 15:28 and 19:2). The prophet Elijah took refuge in Beersheba when Jezebel ordered him killed (I Kings 19:3). The sons of the prophet Samuel were judges in Beersheba (I Samuel 8:2). Saul, Israel's first king, built a fort for his campaign against the Amalekites (I Samuel 14:48 and 15:2–9). The prophet Amos mentions the city in regard to idolatry (Amos 5:5 and 8:14).[5] Following the Babylonian conquest and subsequent enslavement of many Israelites, the town was abandoned. After the slaves returned from Babylon, the town was resettled. Roman and Byzantine era. During the Roman and later Byzantine periods, the town served as a front-line defense against Nabatean attacks. The last inhabitants of Tel Be'er-Sheva were the Byzantines, who abandoned the city during the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century. [Wikipedia]

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