Be’er Sheva

Written by on May 30, 2013

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Beer Sheva

The Northern Negev region is booming. Today it takes only an hour to get from Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv by road or rail (Jerusalem – 1.5 hours). The upgrading of the railway system and the building of the Route 6 Highway allow those who work in the center of Israel to easily commute. Both the building of the Army’s City of Training Bases, Ir HaBahadim, and the development of private industry in Be’er Sheva and the surrounding areas are contributing to this growth.

Be’er Sheva is perhaps the most diverse city in Israel, and therefore it has the potential to attract people that are looking for something different from the homogeneous neighborhoods they may find elsewhere in America and in Israel. With the energy and excitement of Ben-Gurion University, Israel’s most popular university, and its population of students who want to stay and make a difference in Be’er Sheva if they can, the city has almost endless opportunities to transform itself into the creative center of Israel.

“Anglos” are increasingly looking to this region for residential opportunities because of the more reasonable cost of living, accessibility to employment centers of the country, high-quality environment, and the world-class educational and research institutions. The Anglos who currently live in Be’er Sheva are an exceptionally welcoming group of people.

Founded more than 3,700 years ago, Be’er Sheva was developed in the 19th century by the Ottomans; and during the first half of the 20th century, it was further developed by the British. Modern Be’er Sheva was established in 1948, and was built up by immigrants from approximately 70 countries. In the past 15 years, the city’s population has doubled, boosted by tens of thousands of immigrants as well as young and veteran Israeli couples who made Be’er Sheva their home. This prosperous university-city now has commercial and industrial centers serving 600,000 citizens in its entire metropolitan region.

Local Employment

Soroka Medical Center is the largest employer of any institution in the city. However, Ben-Gurion University probably has a greater number of native English-speaking employees. In addition, the Hi-Tech Park near Omer, 15 minutes outside of the city, is another potential area of employment. English teachers often find work here within the school system or as private tutors.

The Dimona Nuclear Plant, Dead Sea Works, Bromm, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Machteshim have all attracted chemists and engineers to the area and are all in driving distance to the city.

Since the early 90’s, when Be’er Sheva received ‘Development Area A’ status for capital investments and saw a surge in development, the city has become an attractive location both for entrepreneurs and investors, with industrial zones covering some 1,750 acres south of the city.

In addition, the Advanced Technology Park spanning 100 acres is currently being built adjacent to Ben-Gurion University as a joint venture of the university, the municipality and the American KUD company. This park is going to be one of the most advanced parks in the country, facilitating integration of leading hi-tech companies (such as Ness, ECI, Deutsche Telecom, the IDF’s Teleprocessing Division) in one location.

Education / Youth

Residents enjoy a quality education system that emphasizes science and technology. Beyond the classroom, children have a variety of extra-curricular youth activities to choose from, including the youth groups Bnei Akiva and Scouts.

Special education classrooms are offered throughout the city for every special learning need.

The city also sponsors a program called Project PACT where parents and children learn together.

The city offers every type of academic and extra-curricular program that the broad population of the city would require. Parents can receive a booklet that lists all of the city’s school, and after school programs in order to decide which would be a good match.

For college students, Be’er Sheva is recognized as a leading university town. It is home to 28,000 students who attend local institutions of higher education. 18,000 students attend Ben Gurion University, which has more students applying to it annually than to any other university in Israel. Outside of Ben Gurion University, an additional 10,000 students attend the Shamoon College of Engineering, Kaye Academic Teachers’ College and the Open University. The fact that college students make up approximately 10% of the city’s population, gives the city an energetic college-town feel.

The Ben-Gurion University affiliated Soroka Medical Center, which is considered one of Israel’s leading hospitals, also operates in the city.

Transportation

Be’er Sheva has a well-developed intra-city public transportation system. Buses run throughout the city, and taxi service is particularly inexpensive. These factors are likely due to the fact that many of Be’er Sheva residents do not own cars and are therefore dependent on public transportation. The small number of cars in Be’er Sheva also makes for easy parking and few traffic jams throughout the city. If you are looking for a community where you will be able to manage without a car, Be’er Sheva certainly qualifies; you can live happily in Be’er Sheva without a car, as long as you work in a place that is accessible through public transportation. In addition, since the city is very flat, it is great for biking. Alternatively, some employers provide transportation to work for Be’er Sheva residents. For example, chemical plants located at the Dead Sea provide van service for employees from Be’er Sheva, which is about one hour away.

In addition, travel time between Be’er Sheva and the rest of the country is constantly shrinking, making commuting an increasingly realistic option. You can travel by train from Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv in an hour. The bus from Be’er Sheva to Jerusalem takes 1.5 hours. There are ongoing changes to the current infrustructure including highway improvements, paving Highway 6 to the Dimona Junction, and intensive upgrading of the railway (doubling the tracks and reducing travel time to Tel Aviv to approximately 45 minutes), which will make a significant difference.

Olim Services

Perhaps more than any other place in Israel, Aliyah is a major part of Be’er Sheva’s history. For example, tens of thousands of Moroccan, Ethiopian and Russian Jews have been welcomed to Israel through absorption programs in Be’er Sheva. There are multiple absorption centers in the City.

To service the needs of Olim, the city has various levels of Ulpan classes and municipal government offices.

For the first time in 2016, the Be’er Sheva municipality appointed a Klita coordinator for the English speaking community who can assist new Olim to the city with their absorption:

Megan Turner: meganturnerklitab7@gmail.com

All children’s ulpan classes are offered within their individual schools.

The AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) is very active in the city, and for a membership fee, participants can be involved in a wide array of activities.

Amenities / Services

Be’er Sheva boasts many shopping malls, including the largest mall in the country, as well as many shops and restaurants, a Shuk (open-air market), and a wide range of consumer services. It has everything you would expect a city to have.

While Clalit is the strongest Kupah in the city, all 4 Kupot have up to date facilities throughout the city. In addition, Be’er Sheva is home to one of Israel’s top hospitals. While particularly well known for its role as a “baby factory” (with 12,000 babies born in the hospital each year), Soroka Medical Center is distinguished in a variety of medical fields.

Community and Religious Life

The city is home to a variety of over 200 synagogues, one of them being the Conservative synagogue, Eshel Avraham in Shchuna Tet. More than just a place to pray, Eshel Avraham hosts nursery schools, after school children’s activities, and senior adult programming. The main synagogues that the English speakers attend are Hakippa, Rambam, Moledet and the new Beit Yatziv Egalitarian Orthodox congregation. There is also a Yeshivat Hesder.

Be’er Sheva’s community center is particularly impressive. In addition to a wide array of organized activities, the center is also home to the AACI office and English-language library which contains over 6,000 volumes and is a valuable resource for Olim of all ages.

The city has multiple Matnasim (community centers), which offer educational and cultural activities for children and adults. Activities include art, dancing, music, sport, parenting and more.

The Winnipeg Community Action Center provides supplementary educational programs for disadvantaged Jewish and Arab youth aged 6-17, and leadership skills courses for 15-17 year olds.

In recent years, Be’er Sheva has established itself as the cultural anchor of the entire Negev. The Center for the Performing Arts hosts performances by Israeli and international companies in all of the performing arts, and is home to the City Theater, the Israel Sinfonietta Be’er Sheva and the Kamea Dance Company.

Operating in the Old City is the Youth Center for Culture, Arts and Media, which initiates festivals such as the Smilansky Street Festival, a Be’er Festival and others. The Negev Museum of Art attracts art enthusiasts to its lovely, century-old historic building, and hosts “Museum Mondays” – summer evening outdoor concerts of song and poetry. In addition, The Light Opera Group of the Negev (LOGON) -a group made up primarily of Anglos, have been producing top class shows in English for the past 32 years, including Broadway musicals. At Purim time, they tour the country with their shows.

In recent years, an Acting School was opened to train the region’s talented young people.

Real Estate

Type of Property Rent Purchase
1 BR Apartment (2 Rooms) 1,800-2,300 450,000-700,000
2 BR Apartment (3 Rooms) 2,100-2,800 550,000-800,000
3 BR Aparment (4 Rooms) 2,400-3,400 750,000-1,300,000
4 BR Apartment (5 Rooms) 3,300-4,400 850,000-1,500,000
4 BR House (5 Rooms) 3,600-5,000 1,200,000-2,400,000
5 BR House (6 Rooms) 4,500 and up 1,500,000-2,700,000
Please note, the following factors will likely result in the price of the property costing on the higher end of the price range:
– Neighborhood-Ground/First Floor
-Renovated
-Safe Room
-Elevator
-Mirpeset/Porch
-GardenAS OF MAY 2016

 

Neighborhoods

Be’er Sheva is a totally mixed city, integrating people of all nationalities and religious observances into all neighborhoods. You will not find one area that is a homogenous population.

While spread throughout the city, Anglo Olim are located primarily in the Hey and Tet neighborhoods. The relatively new southern neighborhood, Neve Zeev, has been attracting many young Dati-Leumi and traditional families.

Naot Lon and Neve Zeev are developing areas of custom designed homes that are near the “Anglo areas”.

Community contacts:
Caroline Gilad
carolinegilad406@gmail.com
050-275-5149
For lots of information about visiting and moving to Be’er Sheva, please see this blog post:”The Ultimate Guide to Be’er Sheva” – http://www.nbn.org.il/gosouth/?p=1547
Websites:Beer Sheva Municipality (Hebrew): www.beer-sheva.muni.il
Jacob Richman’s Resources (English): http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/beer-sheva.htm

Updated: May 2013

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