Be’er Sheva

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Background: Be’er Sheva is the largest city in the Negev and the 7th largest in Israel. Its name, also known as Beersheba, literally translates to “well of seven” (seven wells) and “well of oath.” In Genesis 21 King Abimelekh seizes a well dug by Abraham (seen in the photos), and an oath of peace was made between the two when Abraham offers the king seven ewes in return for the recognition as the owner of the well. Elsewhere in the Bible, Be’er Sheva is the location of an altar built by Isaac, where Elijah takes refuge from Jezebel, and where Jacob leaves before having his dream. The ruins of the ancient city can still be seen (see next post). In the past the city had been a popular replenishing point for travelings crossing the Negev, but now has become a major city. Due to its proximity to the Gaza Strip, Be’er Sheva was recently the recipient of a lot of missiles coming from Hamas.

Impressions: When I told my lab I was going to Be’er Sheva over the weekend they told me not to. There’s nothing there they said. It’s pretty much true. There isn’t too much to see in the desert town besides the tel and an Air Force Museum outside the city. Another main tourist attraction is Abraham’s Well (see photos), basically a hole in the ground with a nice fence around it (it was closed when we were there). On Thursdays there’s a large Bedouin Market filled with goats and chickens, etc. Though its in a desert, we kept seeing signs and reading about small rivers and streams running through the area, but all we found was this strange white creek (see last photo). Nevertheless, it’s still to see that the country is trying to tame the desert, something Ben Gurion said needed to be done if the country was to thrive.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on June 4, 2011.

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