The Negev ( // ; Hebrew : הַנֶּגֶב, Tiberian vocalization: han-Néḡeḇ ; Arabic : النقبan-Naqab) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region's largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba (pop. 209,002), in the north. At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin cities, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics.
The desert is home to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose faculties include the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, both located on the Midreshet Ben-Gurion campus adjacent to Sde Boker.
Although historically a separate region, the Negev was added to the proposed area of Mandatory Palestine, of which large parts later became Israel, on 10 July 1922, having been conceded by British representative St John Philby "in Trans-Jordan's name".
In October 2012, global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet rated the Negev second on a list of the world's top ten regional travel destinations for 2013, noting its current transformation through development.
The origin of the word 'negev' is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'. In the Bible, the word Negev is also used for the direction 'south'; some English-language translations use the spelling "Negeb".
The Negev mentioned in the Hebrew Bible consisted only of the northernmost part of the modern Israeli Negev with, the semiarid Arad-Beersheba Valley defined as "the eastern (biblical) Negev".
In Arabic, the Negev is known as al-Naqab or an-Naqb ("the [mountain] pass"),though it was not thought of as a distinct region until the demarcation of the Egypt-Ottoman frontier in the 1890s and has no traditional Arabic name.
During the British Mandate, it was called Beersheba sub-district.
The Negev covers more than half of Israel, over some 13,000 km² (4,700 sq mi) or at least 55% of the country's land area. It forms an inverted triangle shape whose western side is contiguous with the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and whose eastern border is the Arabah valley. The Negev has a number of interesting cultural and geological features. Among the latter are three enormous, craterlike makhteshim (box canyons), which are unique to the region: Makhtesh Ramon, HaMakhtesh HaGadol, and HaMakhtesh HaKatan.
The Negev is a rocky desert. It is a melange of brown, rocky, dusty mountains interrupted by wadis (dry riverbeds that bloom briefly after rain) and deep craters. It can be split into five different ecological regions: northern, western and central Negev, the high plateau and the Arabah Valley. The northern Negev, or Mediterranean zone, receives 300 mm of rain annually and has fairly fertile soils. The western Negev receives 250 mm of rain per year, with light and partially sandy soils. Sand dunes can reach heights of up to 30 metres here. Home to the city of Beersheba, the central Negev has an annual precipitation of 200 mm and is characterized by impervious soil, known as loess, allowing minimum penetration of water with greater soil erosion and water runoff. The high plateau area of Negev Mountains/Ramat HaNegev (Hebrew : רמת הנגב, The Negev Heights) stands between 370 metres and 520 metres above sea level with extreme temperatures in summer and winter. The area gets 100 mm of rain per year, with inferior and partially salty soils. The Arabah Valley along the Jordanian border stretches 180 km from Eilat in the south to the tip of the Dead Sea in the north. The Arabah Valley is very arid with barely 50 mm of rain annually. It has inferior soils in which little can grow without irrigation and special soil additives.
Vegetation in the Negev is sparse, but certain trees and plants thrive there, among them Acacia , Pistacia , Retama , Urginea maritima and Thymelaea .Hyphaene thebaica or doum palm can be found in the Southern Negev. The Evrona Nature Reserve is the most northerly point in the world where this palm can be found.
A small population of Arabian leopards, an endangered animal in the Arabian peninsula, survives in the southern Negev.Other carnivora found in the Negev are the caracal, the wolf, the golden jackal and the marbled polecat.
The Arabah mountain gazelle, a subspecies of the mountain gazelle, survives with a few individuals in the Negev. The dorcas gazelle is more numerous with some 1,000-1,500 individuals in the Negev.Some 350 to 500 Nubian ibex live in the Negev Highlands and in the Eilat Mountains.
The Negev shrew (Crocidura ramona) is a species of mammal of the family Soricidae found only in Israel.The Negev Tortoise (Testudo werneri) is a critically endangered species that currently lives only in the sands of the western and central Negev Desert.
Animals that were reintroduced after extinction in the wild or local extinction respectively are the Arabian oryx and the Persian fallow deer. The Negev is the only place where reintroduced Arabian oryx flourish because nowhere else in the Middle East poaching can be controlled.Also introduced was the Asiatic wild ass which in the Negev counts about 250 animals.
The Negev region is arid (Eilat receives on average only 24 mm of rainfall a year), receiving very little rain due to its location to the east of the Sahara (as opposed to the Mediterranean which lies to the west of Israel), and extreme temperatures due to its location 31 degrees north. However the northernmost areas of the Negev, including Beersheba, are semi-arid. The usual rainfall total from June through October is zero. Snow and frost are rare in the northern Negev, and snow and frost are unknown in the vicinity of Eilat in the southernmost Negev.
|Climate data for Beersheba|
|Record high °C (°F)||28.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||16.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||7.5|
|Record low °C (°F)||−5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||49.6|
|Average precipitation days||9.2||8||6.4||2.6||0.8||0||0||0||0.1||1.8||4.6||7.5||41|
|Source: Israel Meteorological Service|
|Climate data for Eilat|
|Record high °C (°F)||32.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||21.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||10.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||1.2|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||4|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.1||1.8||1.6||0.9||0.7||0||0||0||0||0.7||0.8||1.9||10.5|
|Source: Israel Meteorological Service|
Nomadic life in the Negev dates back at least 4,000 yearsand perhaps as much as 7,000 years.
The first urbanized settlements were established by a combination of Canaanite, Amalekite, Amorite, Nabataean and Edomite groups circa 2000 BC.Pharaonic Egypt is credited with introducing copper mining and smelting in both the Negev and the Sinai between 1400 and 1300 BC.
According to Israeli archaeologists, in the Hebrew Bible, the term Negev only relates to the northern, semiarid part of what we call Negev today; of this, the Arad-Beersheba Valley, which receives enough rain as to allow agriculture and thus sedentary occupation (the "desert fringe"), is accordingly defined as "the eastern (biblical) Negev".
According to the Book of Genesis chapter 13, Abraham lived for a while in the Negev after being banished from Egypt ( Genesis 13:1,3 ). During the Exodus journey to the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve scouts into the Negev to assess the land and population ( Numbers 13:17 ). Later the northern part of biblical Negev was inhabited by the Tribe of Judah and the southern part of biblical Negev by the Tribe of Simeon. The Negev was later part of the Kingdom of Solomon (in its entirety, all the way to the Red Sea), and then, with varied extension to the south, part of the Kingdom of Judah.
In the 9th century BC, development and expansion of mining in both the Negev and Edom (modern Jordan) coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire.Beersheba was the region's capital and a center for trade in the 8th century BC. Small settlements of Israelites in the areas around the capital existed between 1020 and 928 BC.
The 4th century BC arrival of the Nabateans resulted in the development of irrigation systems that supported new urban centers located along the Negev incense route at Avdat, Mamshit, Shivta, Haluza (Elusa), and Nitzana. [ dubious ]The Nabateans controlled the trade on the spice route between their capital Petra and the Gazan seaports. Nabatean currency and the remains of red and orange potsherds, identified as a trademark of their civilization, have been found along the route, remnants of which are also still visible. Nabatean control of the Negev ended when the Roman empire annexed their lands in 106 AD. The population, largely made up of Arabian nomads, remained largely tribal and independent of Roman rule, with an animist belief system.
Byzantine rule in the 4th century AD introduced Christianity to the population.Agricultural-based cities were established and the population grew exponentially.
The southern Negev saw a flourishing of economic activity during the 8th to 10th or 11th centuries.Six Islamic settlements have been found in the vicinity of modern Eilat, along with copper and gold mines and stone quarries, and a sophisticated irrigation system and road network. The economic center was the port of Ayla (Aqaba).
Nomadic tribes ruled the Negev largely independently and with a relative lack of interference for the next thousand years.What is known of this time is largely derived from oral histories and folk tales of tribes from the Wadi Musa and Petra areas in present-day Jordan. The Bedouins of the Negev historically survived chiefly on sheep and goat husbandry. Scarcity of water and of permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly. The Bedouin in years past established few permanent settlements, although some were built, leaving behind remnants of stone houses called 'baika.'
In 1900 the Ottoman Empire established an administrative center for southern Syria at Beersheba including schools and a railway station.The authority of the tribal chiefs over the region was recognized by the Ottomans. A railroad connected it to the port of Rafah. In 1914 the Turkish authorities estimated the nomadic population at 55,000.
The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France placed the Negev in Area B, "Arab state or states" under British patronage.The Negev was taken from the Ottoman army by British forces during 1917 and became part of Mandatory Palestine.
In 1922, the Bedouin component of the population was estimated at 72,898 out of a total of 75,254 for the Beersheba sub-district.The 1931 census estimated that the population of the Beersheba sub-district was 51,082. This large decrease was considered to be an artifact of incorrect enumeration methods used in 1922. An Arabic history of tribes around Beersheba, published in 1934 records 23 tribal groups.
Most of the Negev was earmarked by the November 1947 UN Partition Plan for the future Jewish state. During the 1947-49 War of Independence, Israel secured its sovereignty over the Negev. In the early years of the state, it absorbed many of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, with the Israeli government setting up many development towns, such as Arad, Sderot and Netivot. Since then, the Negev has also become home to many of the Israel Defense Forces' major bases - a process accelerating in the past two decades.
As of 2010, the Negev was home to some 630,000 people (or 8.2% of Israel's population), even though it comprises over 55% of the country's area. 470,000 Negev residents or 75% of the population of the Negev are Jews, while 160,000 or 25% are Bedouin.Of the Bedouin population (a demographic with a semi-nomadic tradition), half live in unrecognized villages, and half live in towns built for them by the Israeli government between the 1960s and 1980s; the largest of these is Rahat.
The population of the Negev is expected to reach 1.2 million by 2025.[ citation needed ] It has been projected that the Beersheba metropolitan area will reach a population of 1 million by 2020, and Arad, Yeruham, and Dimona will triple in size by 2025.
Blueprint Negev is a Jewish National Fund project introduced in 2005. The $600 million project hopes to continue Israel's past environmental successes in 'making the desert bloom' and attract 500,000 new Jewish residents to the Negev by improving transportation infrastructure, establishing businesses, developing water resources and introducing programs to protect the environment.A planned artificial desert river, swimming pools and golf courses raised concerns among environmentalists. Critics oppose those plans, calling instead for an inclusive plan for the green vitalization of existing population centers, investment in Bedouin villages, clean-up of toxic industries and development of job options for the unemployed.
A major Israel Defense Forces training base is being constructed in the Negev to accommodate 10,000 army personnel and 2,500 civilian staff. Three more bases will be built by 2020 as part of a plan to vacate land and buildings in Tel Aviv and central Israel, and bring jobs and investment to the south.
The Negev Desert and the surrounding area, including the Arava Valley, are the sunniest parts of Israel and little of this land is arable, which is why it has become the center of the Israeli solar industry.David Faiman, an expert on solar energy, feels the energy needs of Israel's future could be met by building solar energy plants in the Negev. As director of Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center, he operates one of the largest solar dishes in the world. Technically, however, the Arava is a separate desert with its own unique climate and ecology.
A 250 MW solar park in Ashalim, an area in the northern Negev, the Ashalim Power Station, produces 121 Megawatts of energy, using solar mirrors and thermal water heating. It is currently the largest in Israel.
The Rotem Industrial Complex outside of Dimona, Israel, has dozens of solar mirrors that focus the Sun's rays on a tower that in turn heats a water boiler to create steam, turning a turbine to create electricity. Luz II, Ltd., plans to use the solar array to test new technology for the three new solar plants to be built in California for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Vines have been planted in the Negev since ancient times. In modern times, vineyards have been established in the northern Negev hills using innovative computerized watering methods for irrigation. Carmel Winery was the first of the major wineries to plant vineyards in the Negev and operates a boutique winery at Ramat Arad. Tishbi has vineyards at Sde Boker and Barkan grows its grapes in Mitzpe Ramon.Yatir Winery is a winery in Tel Arad. Its vineyards are on a hill 900 meters above sea level on the outskirts of Yatir Forest. Carmey Avdat is Israel's first solar-powered winery.
This section needs to be updated.January 2019)(
The Negev is home to hazardous infrastructures that include Negev Nuclear Research Center nuclear reactor, 22 agrochemical and petrochemical factories, an oil terminal, closed military zones, quarries, a toxic waste incinerator at Ne'ot Hovav, cell towers, a power plant, several airports, a prison, and 2 rivers of open sewage.
In 2005, the Tel Aviv municipality was accused of dumping waste in the Negev at the Dudaim dump.The Manufacturers Association of Israel established an authority in 2005 to move 60 industrial enterprises active in the Tel Aviv region to the Negev.
In 1979, the Ramat Hovav toxic waste facility was established in Wadi el-Na'am because the area was perceived as invulnerable to leakage. However, within a decade, cracks were found in the rock beneath Ramat Hovav. km vicinity of Ramat Hovav. The study, funded in large part by Ramat Hovav, found higher rates of cancer and mortality for the 350,000 people in the area. Prematurely released to the media by an unknown source, the preliminary study was publicly discredited; However, its final conclusions – that Bedouin and Jewish residents near Ramat Hovav are significantly more susceptible than the rest of the population to miscarriages, severe birth defects, and respiratory diseases – passed a peer review several months later.In 2004, the Israeli Ministry of Health released Ben Gurion University research findings describing the health problems in a 20
Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the south-east of Beersheba and 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. In 2018 its population was 34,135. The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, colloquially known as the Dimona Reactor, is located 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southeast of the city.
The geography of Israel is very diverse, with desert conditions in the south, and snow-capped mountains in the north. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea in Western Asia. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt. To the west of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea, which makes up the majority of Israel's 273 km (170 mi) coastline, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has a small coastline on the Red Sea in the south.
The Arabah, or Arava / Aravah, as it is known by its respective Arabic and Hebrew names, is a geographic area south of the Dead Sea basin, which forms part of the border between Israel to the west and Jordan to the east.
Arad is a city in the Southern District of Israel. It is located on the border of the Negev and the Judean Deserts, 25 kilometres west of the Dead Sea and 45 kilometres east of Beersheba. The city is home to a diverse population of 26,451, including Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, both secular and religious, Bedouins and Black Hebrews, as well as new immigrants.
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Israel, the eighth most populous Israeli city with a population of 209,002, and the second largest city with a total area of 117,500 dunams.
Sde Boker is a kibbutz in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Best known as the retirement home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ramat Negev Regional Council. In 2018 it had a population of 464.
Kuseife is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel. Kuseife was founded in 1982 as part of a government project to settle Bedouins in permanent settlements. In 1996 it was declared a local council, and in 2018 it had a population of 21,079.
Shaqib al-Salam or Segev Shalom is a Bedouin town and a local council in the Southern District of Israel, southeast of Beersheba. In 2018 it had a population of 10,362.
Ar'arat an-Naqab or Ar'ara BaNegev, previously called Aroer, is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel. Its name stands for "the juniper tree in Negev". It is situated not far from the archaeological site of Aroer.
Tel Sheva or Tel as-Sabi is a Bedouin town in the Southern District of Israel, bordering the city of Beersheba. In 2018 it had a population of 20,204.
Nevatim is a moshav in southern Israel. Located in the northern Negev desert around 8 km (5 mi) south-east of Beersheba, it falls under the jurisdiction of Bnei Shimon Regional Council. In 2018 it had a population of 980.
Yatir Forest is a forest in Israel, located on the southern slopes of Mount Hebron, on the edge of the Negev Desert. The forest covers an area of 30,000 dunams, and is the largest planted forest in Israel.
Highway 40 is a north-south intercity road in Israel. At 302 km long, it is the second longest highway in Israel, after Highway 90. The highway runs from Kfar Saba in the center of Israel to the Arabah in the south, serving as a main connection between central Israel and Be'er Sheva.
Wadi al-Na'am is an unrecognized Bedouin village in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The nearest official settlement is Beersheba. The village is home to about 5,000 Negev Bedouins who live mainly in tents and tin shacks less than 500 metres away from a toxic waste dump, largely surrounded by the Ramat Hovav industrial zone and military areas including an Israel Defense Forces live-fire range. Because the village is unrecognized, it is ineligible for basic services and subject to periodic house demolitions, even though the inhabitants hold Israeli citizenship.
The Railway to Beersheba is a railroad line that runs from central Israel to the Zin Factories in southern Israel, with a spur to the Be'er Sheva Center Railway Station and branch lines to Ramat Hovav, the Arad phosphate mines and factories in Tzefa, and a connection to the Ashkelon–Beersheba railway. It is part of the main line of Israel Railways, of which the northern starting point of the line designated as the "line to Beersheba" is usually indicated as beginning at Na'an junction, where the railway splits to Beersheba and Jerusalem. Because the line is not limited to Beersheba, it is known in Israel as Mesilat HaDarom.
Ramat Hovav, new official name Ne'ot Hovav, is an industrial zone in southern Israel and the site of Israel's main hazardous waste disposal facility. Ramat Hovav Industrial Zone is the locus of 19 chemical factories, including Makhteshim Agan, a pesticide plant; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, a pharmaceuticals plant; Israel Chemicals, a bromine plant.
Tirabin al-Sana, also Tarabin, is a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The village was built for the Tarabin tribe. Located near Rahat and Mishmar HaNegev, it falls under the jurisdiction of al-Kasom Regional Council. In 2018 it had a population of 1,089.
The use of solar energy began in Israel in the 1950s with the development by Levi Yissar of a solar water heater to address the energy shortages that plagued the new country. By 1967 around 5% of water of households was solar heated and 50,000 solar heaters had been sold. With the 1970s oil crisis, Harry Zvi Tabor developed the prototype of the solar water heater now used in over 90% of Israeli homes. There are over 1.3 million solar water heaters installed as a result of mandatory solar water heating regulations.
The Israeli city of Beersheba occupies a central role in southern Israel. Because of its central position in the Negev it is situated on important national routes reaching down to the far southern port of Eilat. Be'er Sheva is also home to a population of 195,000, with an estimated metro population at over 500,000 making it one of the largest cities in Israel. Much of the cities high-tech industry is concentrated in the center of the city, with Industrial estates existing in the south of the city, both of these areas are thus extensively served.
The High-speed railway to Eilat (Med-Red) is a proposed Israeli railway that will enable the connection of the main Israeli population centers and Mediterranean ports to the southern city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast, as well as serve commercial freight between the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea (Eilat). The railway will spur southward from the existing rail line at Beersheba, and continue through Dimona to the Arava, Ramon Airport and Eilat, at a speed of 350 kilometers per hour (220 mph). Its length will be roughly 260 km of electrified double-track rail.
In fact, there are two mountain passes through which the road of Aylah has to cross. The western one crosses the mountain ridge to the west of the gulf, and through it passes the main road from Egypt which cuts through the whole width of Sinai, coming from Cairo via Suez. This mountain pass is also called 'Aqabat Aylah, or as it is better known, "Naqb al-'Aqabah" or "Ras an-Naqb."
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