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Beersheba or Beer Shéva (Hebrew alphabet באר שבע "Well of the Oath", Standard Hebrew Bəʾer Šévaʿ, Tiberian Hebrew Bəʾēr Šéḇaʿ / Bəʾēr Šāḇaʿ; Arabic بئر السبع Biʾr as-Sabʿ) is a city in Israel. It is the largest city of the Negev desert, and often known as the "Capital of the Negev" in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2001 the city had a total population of 177,900. The population in 2003 was around 200,000.
It is the administrative center for the southern region and home of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Soroka Hospital, and the Beer-Sheva Symphonietta.
The city dates back at least to the time of Abraham. The town center has streets in a grid-like pattern and was built by the Germans when the area was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The city has expanded considerably since 1948 and is inhabited mainly by people who originally immigrated to Israel from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union. Many Bedouin live in towns and encampments in the area.
On August 31, 2004, at least 16 people were killed in two suicide bombings on buses in Beersheba. Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Beer Sheva was first mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis. It is believed to be the location of the oath between Abraham and Abimelech. Genesis 21:
According to Genesis 21:31 "Beersheba" means "Well of Oath" and not the popular "Seven Wells".
An archeological site called "Tel Beer Sheva", a few kilometers north-east of modern day Beer Sheva has evidence of being populated since the 4th millennium BC. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times during its history. The latest inhabitants of Tel Beer Sheva were the Byzantines, which abandoned the city at the 7th century AD.
The Ottoman Empire rebuilt the city as an administration center during the early 1900s. The city was captured by the British army at 1917. After the British mandate of Palestine has ended in 1947, Beer Sheva was captured by Israeli forces at October 21, 1948 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Most of the Muslim citizens fled and the city and it was since then settled by Jews immigrating from North Africa, Middle East arab countries and Eastern Europe (including the former Soviet Union).
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This city is also known as: Be'er Sheva (Beersheba) באר שבע.