The Amos Oz Writers’ House was established on June 27, 2021 and is located at 53 ha-Avot St., in the Old City of Be’er-Sheva, in a beautifully restored Ottoman building (dating from the first decade of the 20th century). It offers writing workshops, public lectures on Israeli literature and intimate meetings with guest authors. It also serves as an international academic research center in the field of literature.
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 (1942-2021) and Eliyahu Stern (b.1948-) from the BGU Geography Dept., compiled and published an academic sourcebook of Hebrew essays entitled: Beersheba (1979); in 2008, Gradus and Esther Meir-Glitzenstein edited another compilation of Hebrew essays entitled: Beer-Sheva: Metropolis in the Making; and in 2014, another anthology of Hebrew essays was published called: “Science and Scholarship in the Negev: The Story of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, edited by Gradus and Isaac Nevo.
Best-selling American author, Laurie R. King, wrote a series of novels, including one entitled: O, Jerusalem! (1999) and part of the plot takes place in Be’er-Sheva during the WWI period.
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 (1937-2017) 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. Between 1991-2019, veteran local-patriot and journalist Isaac E. Stiel (Shatil, 1941-2019) 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 even an ethnic Be’er-Sheva cookbook.
BGU Prof. of Anthropology Alex Weingrod published a book entitled The Saint of Beersheba (1990) about the annual pilgrimage 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
Ge’ula Banano (b.1964-), a veteran Be’ershevan educator, published her first Hebrew children’s book in 2021, entitled: Equality between the Colors of the Rainbow, to teach equality irregardless of differences.
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).
Maayan Muati (b.1971-) a Be’ershevan educator, has written her first Hebrew book (for youthful readers): The Nula, published in Nov. 2021, that deals with young people trying to save the world.
Meital Zvi, a psychologist employed by the Municipal Educational-Psychology Service, wrote a Hebrew children’s book entitled: Geva from Be’er-Sheva: Anat and I Cope With the Security Situation (2021), a propos the missile attacks on the city.
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.
Bella Alexandrov (b.1984?-), a Beershevan author, published her first book of Hebrew poems in June 2022, entitled: Hiyukh Mispar 8 (Smile No. 8), about her childhood as a Soviet immigrant in Be’er-Sheva and the death of her mother.
Yamima Avital (1929-1999), who studied psychology at BGU and resided in Be’er-Sheva, developed a unique theory based on the integration of cognitive thinking and Kabbalistic Jewish mysticism. In 1987, she founded Makhon Ma’ayan, where she taught this therapeutic approach to educators, caregivers & parents. In 2020, Nehama & Oded David, published the Hebrew book entitled: Binat ha-Lev (The Wisdom of the Heart) teaching Yamima‘s approach.
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.
Yoav Itamar (b.1980-) is a Beershevan poet, playwright, editor, critic & translator, who published 3 books of Hebrew poetry & 2 plays between 2012-1022.
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.
Be’er-Sheva businessman, Alexey Molchanov (b.1971-), after publishing his 1st Hebrew manual, entitled: ha-Madrikh le-Hatslahah be-Hi-Tek (lit., A Manual for Success in High-Tech, he released his 2nd book, a Hebrew financial manual in 2020, entitled: Hayim, Hatslahah ve-Nadlan (lit., Life, Success and Real-Estate).
Rafi Shitrit (b.1955-), a long-time resident of Be’er-Sheva, who served as the Vice-Mayor of Be’er-Sheva for a decade, published a biographical collection of stories about 38 local artists, from Be’er-Sheva and the southern region, in his Hebrew book entitled: Qulmos u-Mikkhol (Pen and Paintbrush) in June 2022, illustrated by examples of their works.
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).
Ilanit Yehuda, a resident of Be’er-Sheva, an information scientist, and the Director of the Be’er-Sheva Public Library Network, published a Hebrew book entitled: WAZE in the Days of Corona, in 2022, about navigating the pandemic era. She also manages the Library’s Internet blog.
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 and Beershevans by external authors
In 2020, with the encouragement of the bereaved family in Be’er-Sheva, illustrator Dudi Shamai (b.1969-) published an illustrated, commemorative biography about the brief life of Asher Hazut (2005-2019), tragically killed by a bolt of lightening on the beach at Zikkin.
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(2006).
Tal Bitton (b.1986-, born and raised in Be’er-Sheva), after beating Leukemia, wrote a fantasy book entitled: The Journey to Kemia Forest (2020) to help others suffering from Leukemia overcome the many obstacles and soldier through the lifesaving treatments. His book is illustrated by another Beershevan, the female illustrator, Bar Fabian.
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.
Yoreh Nehushtan, born in Be’er-Sheva (b.1952?-) has published 2 books of Hebrew poetry: Outside the Covers and Tense Mirror, and a book of humorous short stories in 2021, as well as a number of unusual educational materials. He is also the founder of Kots Publishing.
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 published Hebrew book 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 also been managing a private publishing company called “Tene Or” since 2004. Later, in 2018, she published A Test of Friendship and in 2020, her eleventh Hebrew book, entitled: A View of the Truth.
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.