Be'er Sheva, Israel

Population: 200,000
Religion: Jewish, Muslim
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian
Industry: Chemicals, Aviation, Hi-tech, Medicine, Higher Education
Exports: Potash, Bromine, Industrial and agricultural chemicals
Climate: Semi-arid

Be'er Sheva, Israel, located on the edge of the Negev Desert, has grown in this century from a small trading center to a city of more than 200,000 inhabitants. It is the administrative, cultural and industrial capital of the Negev. Home to Ben Gurion University of the Negev, a center for science and the humanities, it also contains the internationally recognized Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research.

In this culturally vibrant city the Be'er Sheva Sinfonetta, Rubin Academy of Music, Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bat Dor Ballet workshop are but a few of Be'er Sheva's many artistic groups. Be'er Sheva is also a Bedouin center, and the colorful open market where both Bedouin and Jewish merchants sell their goods is a microcosm of life in the Negev.

Mayor Charles Royer led a delegation to Be'er Sheva in 1987. The following year eight Seattle high school students visited with their Be'er Sheva counterparts after attending an international sister cities conference in Jerusalem.

In a 1992 exchange, Be'er Sheva high school students and their Superintendent of Schools visited Seattle. In 1990 sixteen Seattle social service agency professionals participated in a conference hosted by the Social Work Department of Ben Gurion University and the municipality. In a 1991 return exchange seven Be'er Sheva social workers attended lectures at the University of Washington School of Social Work and visited Seattle agencies. City Councilmember Jane Noland led a Seattle delegation in fall 1994 which successfully explored and enhanced business possibilities and future exchanges.

The Sister City relationship of Be'er Sheva and Seattle was celebrated in 2004 through a rededication of Seattle's Be'er Sheva Park, that included a high school art competition and visit from the Israeli top artist.

Related Links:

City of Be'er Sheva Web Site

General Information: 
Trish Tuttle

Membership Information: 
Robert Wilkes