History

Mentioned three dozen times in the Hebrew Bible, Be'er Sheva – the name might mean 'well of the oath', ' well of the seven' or 'well seven' – was an important urban centre during the Israelite period. Modern Be'er Sheva was founded by the Ottomans in the very early 1900s, in part to counter expanding British influence in the Sinai. The Turks were right to be concerned: by the end of 1917 the dusty outpost was under British control, having been captured by Australian regiments in, believe it or not, an old-fashioned cavalry charge. After the 1948 war, during which Egyptian forces briefly held the city, Be'er Sheva expanded rapidly, populated mainly by Jewish refugees and immigrants from Arab countries.