Literature on Be’er-Sheva
Active local-patriot Zvika Aloush published a stunning book entitled My Negev (2007) in Hebrew and English.
Nissim Alsheich (b.1926-) was a co-founder of the Be’er-Sheva Municipal Music “Conservatorion” and founder of the Be’er-Sheva Youth Orchestra, both in 1961. In 1973, he founded the Be’er-Sheva Chamber Orchestra and, in 1996, he founded and conducted the Be’er-Sheva Wind Orchestra (consisting of woodwinds & brass instruments) until his retirement in 2010. He published a Hebrew autobiography entitled My Life’s Symphony: The Realization of a Dream (2016).
Eitan Cohen published the Hebrew book entitled Beersheba, the Fourth City (2006) that suggests reinstating the Old City as the true center of Negev culture for both the Jewish and the Bedouin residents of the region.
Yehuda Gradus and Eliyahu Stern (eds.), from the BGU Geography Dept., compiled and published an academic sourcebook of Hebrew essays entitled Beersheba (1979).
Moshe Nir wrote and edited the Hebrew compendium Who and What in Be’er-Sheva and the Negev (1987).
Yitzhack (“Ijo”) Rager (1932-1997), the 5th Mayor of Be’er-Sheva, who served from 1989-1997, published his autobiography in Hebrew on the year of his untimely death. His family published the English version, entitled In the Service of Israel posthumously in 1999.
Journalist/author Aryeh Rappaport (d.2017) published Hebrew books about Be’er-Sheva and the Negev: Forty Years of Sports in the Negev (1989) and Between Ra’ananah and Be’er-Sheva (2007). He also published many articles and had an Internet blog (2013-) called “Aryeh Rappaport, Historian.”
Noga Raved and Hadas Shadar wrote Beer Sheva: The Growth of a City: A Model of the Development of Public Housing in Israel (2008) to accompany an exhibit at the Negev Museum of Art.
Israeli playwright, Joshua Sobol (b.1939-), wrote a Hebrew play entitled Working-class hero (2006) that was performed by the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv. This play portrays the prolonged and somewhat unsuccessful struggle of the Be’er-Sheva bus-drivers.
Since 1991, veteran local-patriot and journalist Isaac E. Stiel (Shatil, b.1941-) has managed to publish 20 Hebrew books, most of them about various aspects of Be’er-Sheva: journalism, sports, who’s whos, photographs, key women, city honorees, leading rabbis, and a Be’er-Sheva cookbook–and he’s always working on the next book …
BGU Prof. of Anthropology Alex Weingrod published a book entitled The Saint of Beersheba (1990) about the annual pilgrimmage traditions that developed surrounding the enshrined grave of the late Tunisian Rabbi Chayim Chouri (1885-1957, Be’er-Sheva).
Joshua Zimrah, founder of the Pedagogical Biology Institute and the astronomical observatory at the Bet Yatsiv Campus in the Old City, authored two Hebrew books: Nahal Kovshim: Instructions for an Educational Tour of the Be’er-Sheva Area and For the Amateur Gardener (2006).
Children’s books by local authors
Gil Israel Bitan (b.1981-, Be’er-Sheva) authored an educational Hebrew children’s book warning of the dangerous effects of plastic on the marine ecosystem, entitled: Nuli the Dolphin (2019).
Dan Goldman and illustrator Liron Yedidsion produced an illustrated Hebrew book for children ages 4-8 entitled Gili and the Wondrous Wave (ca.2010).
Mali Kalifah and her mother Rita Zakut published a Hebrew book of rhymed riddles entitled Elephant or Giraffe? (2009).
Rinat Matsliah, a Be’ershevan educator, has written 5 self-illustrated Hebrew children’s books since 2011 (and also published her first book of Hebrew poems in 2019).
Non-fiction by local authors
Prize-winning French author, poet, translator and Holocaust survivor, Michael Adam (b.1939-) first published his French book Les Enfants de Pitchipoi (The Children of Pitchipoi) in Paris, describing childhood in a WWII concentration camp (at age 4, he was imprisoned in the Drancy Concentration Camp in France). This book was later published in Hebrew (1988) in Israel. As an Israeli representative to the International French Writers’ Guild, he was awarded a gold medal for foreign writers in French by l’Ordre de la Francophone at their 2010 meeting.
Yael Avraham (b.1966-) is an experienced educational psychologist & Assistant-Director of the Be’er-Sheva Municipal Psychological Services. She published a very timely Hebrew book (ca.2011, also translated into English, Arabic and Braille), entitled: Social Rejection: It Cannot Be Ignored. In Nov. 2019, the book was also released in Moscow in its Russian-language version, translated here by local psychologist, Galya Katz.
BGU English professor and prize-winning author Dr. Haim Chertok has published 5 biographical works, including his autobiography Stealing Home (1988) and countless academic articles.
The late physicist Menasheh Eni wrote a book on Hebrew numerology called Names and Numbers: Revealed, Hidden and Astounding (1998).
Harela Ishay, is Be’er-Sheva‘s veteran marital matchmaker (Heb., shadkhanit) and founder of “Doo-Lev” (lit., two hearts) matchmaking service (founded 1992), that has 4 branches located in: Be’er-Sheva, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv & Ashdod. Ishay has published two Hebrew books, the first entitled Couples Status: The Role of the Matchmaker (c2015) and the second is: Two Sugars (2017). She often appears on Israel TV and speaks on local radio programs.
Dr. Albert Jacob wrote a book on politics in Dundee, Scotland, entitled The Day It Hit the Fan: Memoirs of a Reluctant Politician (2005).
Historian Dr. Martha Lev-Zion (d.2014) courageously raised a Down-syndrome child to adulthood as a single mother and then wrote a book about her experience called Taking Tamar (2010) before her untimely death. She had also been the founder and first President of the Negev Branch of the Israel Genealogical Society.
Vladimir Shneider (1937-2016), a gifted linguist and artist, published a book on comparative linguistics both in Russian and in English, entitled The Traces of the Ten (2002), about the impact of the languages of the ancient Hebrews on Slavic languages, by following the linguistic paths of the ten not ‘lost’ biblical tribes of Israel. His paintings, mostly depicting biblical or mythological themes, were recognized and exhibited both in the Ukraine and across Israel. A second edition of his personal catalogue of selected works was published posthumously, entitled The Art of Shneider Vladimir: Monographia (2nd. ed., 2017).
Emily Ziboshnik (b.2008-) published a Hebrew book about adolescent society and her social ostracism in school entitled: Unwanted in 2020.
Non-fiction about Be’er-Sheva by foreign authors
ANZAC supporter Jill Curry wrote the book Victory! Beersheba 100th Anniversary (2016), to commemorate the ANZAC achievements during the Palestinian Campaign, 1916-1918.
Fiction by local authors
Shamai Atsmoni published a book of Hebrew short-stories and poems The Heart-Murmur of My Words.
Mike Diamond wrote a very clever suspense novel set in Be’er-Sheva and at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev entitled Subsurface (2008).
Mitzi Geffen, an outstanding English teacher, encourages the learning of the English language by means of the annual plays or musicals she produces at “Ulpanat Amit” – a highschool for religious girls and at Amit Junior High. She also writes original English plays, such as The Case of the Missing Taffy (2006).
Gilad Kalifa is a playwright, screenwriter, theater director, producer and owner of a recording studio, as well as a multi-talented actor, singer, dancer & musician. He has voluntarily helped to produce numerous shows in Be’er-Sheva highschools and old-age homes.
Shulamit Lapid (b.1934-) wrote a series of 7 Hebrew ‘detective’ novels set in Be’er-Sheva about a fictional heroine, a journalist named Lizzie Badihi, who writes for a local paper called ha-Zman Darom and gets caught up solving various crimes. These popular novels were published between 1989-2020 and introduced this genre to the readers of Hebrew fiction. She is the widow of journalist/politician Tommy Lapid and is the mother of journalist/TV host/politician Ya’ir Lapid.
Dr. Dan Manor (b.1933-) has been a resident of Be’er-Sheva for over 65 years, is now a professor emeritus of BGU, and has published 2 novels in Hebrew–the first in 2018 and the second in 2020, as well as having published many short stories and about 40 articles on Jewish literature originating in Spain and Morocco. Ofir Oz published his Hebrew novella and short stories under the title I’m Killing You (2007). His second, prize-winning Hebrew book is called A Name for a Beginning (2013). Since 2011, he has a Hebrew Internet blog called “To Break the Drawer” – ofiroz.co.il.
Ora Patishy, a Hebrew feminist author, has been writing poems and short stories since the age of 17, mostly intended for young people. Her first book published was Shahar Tells Us (1977); then Contacts (1988), and Class Queen (2003), followed by a series of 6 more Hebrew novels and two compilations of her own poetry (2004-2016). She has been managing a private publishing company called “Tene Or” since 2004.
Dr. Sasha Paz (1927-2017) was a brilliant writer of Hebrew novels and poetry. His academic background in psychology and philosophy and his insatiable need to write produced his acclaimed first book Il Monsignore (2006), as well as another 6 riveting novels awaiting publication posthumously. The large number of his excellent poems can surely fill 2-3 books as well, and are most worthy of publication.
Arieh Rodriguez‘ Hebrew stories were published in Hebrew periodicals throughout the 1970s. His collection of Kafka-esque, existential tales in Hebrew, The Lakes Garden (1977) won a prestigious literature prize in 1977. In 1990, Arieh published The Hosts, four Hebrew novellas, after which he also wrote a non-fiction book on the Jewish laws relating to blindness.
Famous Israeli authors in Be’er-Sheva at the University
The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is honored to host the personal archives of many of Israel’s foremost authors: Amos Oz, Aharon Appelfeld, Ruth Almog, David Avidan, Yocheved Bat Miriam, David Schutz, Nissim Aloni, Shulamit Hareven, Yehuda Amichai, and Zelda & Yizhar Smilansky. Appelfeld, Haim Be’er and Etgar Keret occasionally give lectures on the BGU Campus and Keret regularly publishes Hebrew short stories in the BGU magazine. In 2007, Keret won a prestigious prize for his film “Medusas” at the Cannes Film Festival.