Be’er Sheva

Written by on May 30, 2013

Tags:

Community Region:

Population:


Beer Sheva

In the past 15 years, Be’er Sheva’s population has doubled, boosted by tens of thousands of immigrants as well as young and veteran Israeli couples who have made Be’er Sheva their home. This prosperous university-city now has commercial and industrial centers that serve the over 600,000 residents of the city and its greater metropolitan region.

Be’er Sheva – and the surrounding Northern Negev region – is booming, and several factors are contributing to this growth. The upgrading of the national railway and the building of Highway 6, Israel’s major toll road, allow those who work in the center of Israel to commute with greater ease. The construction of the Army’s expansive training complex known as Ir HaBahadim (“City of Training Bases”), as well as the development of new private industry in Be’er Sheva and the surrounding areas are also contributing to the region’s economic growth.

Be’er Sheva is a city of great diversity, with residents of many ethnic and social backgrounds living side-by-side. The city is also home to Ben-Gurion University and benefits from hosting Isarel’s largest university and student population. The city has had relative success in encouraging students to stay beyond their years of study and make a difference in Be’er Sheva.

Anglos are increasingly looking to this region for residential opportunities because of the more reasonable cost of living relative to the rest of the country, accessibility to employment centers, high-quality environment, and world-class educational and research institutions. The Anglo community in Be’er Sheva is known to be warm and welcoming.

Local Employment

Soroka Medical Center, one of the country’s leading hospitals, is the largest employer of any institution in the city. Ben-Gurion University is also a major employer, and has a large number of native English-speaking employees. The Hi-Tech Park near Omer, 15 minutes outside of the city, is another area of potential employment. English teachers often find work here within the school system or as private tutors.

The Dead Sea Works, Dimona Nuclear Plant, Bromm, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Machteshim have all attracted chemists and engineers to the area and are within 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 youth groups such as Bnei Akiva and the 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.

As a large city, Be’er Sheva offers a wide selection of academic and extra-curricular programs. Parents can receive a booklet that lists all of the city’s schools, 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, and the university has more applicants than any other university in Israel. An additional 10,000 students attend the Shamoon College of Engineering, Kaye Academic Teachers’ College and the Open University. With the student ratio of the population standing at approximately 10%, areas of the city have an energetic college-town feel.

Soroka Medical Center, which is affiliated with Ben Gurion University, is considered to be one of Israel’s leading hospitals.

Transportation

Be’er Sheva has a well-developed intra-city public transportation system. Buses run throughout the city, and taxi service is particularly inexpensive. This may be in part due to the fact that many of Be’er Sheva residents do not own cars and are therefore dependent on public transportation. The lower number of cars in Be’er Sheva also makes for easier parking and fewer traffic jams throughout the city, relative to its size. Olim find that they can manage without a car as long as they work in an area that is accessible by public transportation. 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, since the city is primarily flat, it is biking-friendly.

Travel time between Be’er Sheva and the rest of the country has in recent years been reduced, 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. Ongoing investment in transportation infrastructure is taking place including highway improvements, such as expanding 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).

Olim Services

Perhaps more than any other place in Israel, Aliyah is a major part of Be’er Sheva’s history. Over the years, 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.

In 2016, the Be’er Sheva municipality appointed its first Klita coordinator for the English-speaking community who can assist new Olim to the city with their absorption:

English Speaking Community, Klitah Coordinator:
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.

All four official Kupot Cholim have up to date facilities throughout the city, and 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 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, has been producing top class shows in English for the past 32 years, including Broadway musicals.

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

Neighborhoods

Be’er Sheva is a mixed city, integrating people of all nationalities and religious observances into all neighborhoods. You will not find one area that has a homogeneous 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 contact:
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 Municipalityhttp://www.beer-sheva.muni.il/Eng/Pages/default.aspx
Jacob Richman’s Resources (English): http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/beer-sheva.htm

Updated: September 2017

About the Author

About the Author: .

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on Google Plus Join Our LinkedIn Group Connect on YouTube

Comments are closed.

Top