Authors & Literature

Literature on Be’er-Sheva

Zvika AloushActive 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 Nissim Elsheikh 2016“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)Eitan Cohen 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 GradusYehuda Gradus and Eliyahu Stern (eds.), from the BGU Geography Dept., compiled and published an academic sourcebook of Hebrew essays entitled Beersheba (1979).

Asi Harazi (b.1972-, in Be’er-Sheva), known as the drummer of rock band “Carte Blanche, founded a nostalgic Hebrew Facebook discussion group in 2018 called —-“זכרונות ילדות באר שבעthat has taken off like wildfire.

Moshe Nir - photo by Avi LeviMoshe 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 hisIjo Rager- late Mayor 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 Ha-Poel Beersheva 2017articles 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 IsraelUrban growth (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 Yitדhak Shatil & Ethelea Katzenell 11.2013managed 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 surroundingTomb of Rabbi Haim Huri 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, Beer-Sheva trailauthored 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

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).

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 Michael Adampublished 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. 

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).

Harelah Yishai - matchmakerHarela 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 toMartha Lev-Zion1 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 Traces of the TenTen (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).

Non-fiction about Be’er-Sheva by foreign authors

ANZAC supporter Jill Curry wrote the book Victory! Beersheba 100th Anniversary 18860(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 Mitzi Geffenlanguage 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.

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”

Ora Patishya 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 Ora PatishiTells 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 rivetingSasha Paz 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. 

Fiction about Be’er-Sheva by non-local authors

Shulamit Lapid (b.1934-) wrote a series of 6 Hebrew ‘detective’ novels set in Be’er-Sheva about a fictional heroine, a journalist named Lizzie Badihi, who writes for a local Shulamit Lapidpaper (Heb., mekomon) and gets caught up solving various crimes. These popular novels were published between 1989-2007 and introduced this genre to the readers of Hebrew fiction. She was the wife of journalist/politician Tommy Lapid  and is the mother of journalist/politician Ya’ir Lapid.

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 Amos Ozmany 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, Oz, Haim Be’er and Etgar Keret occasionally give lectures on the BGU Campus and publishes his Hebrew short Etgar Keretstories in the BGU magazine. In 2007, Keret won a prestigious prize for his film “Medusas” at the Cannes Film Festival.

Author: etheleakatzenell

I came about 45 years ago from Philadelphia, PA (a city of American founding fathers) to Be'er-Sheva, Israel (the city of Abraham, the biblical Patriarch) and have never regretted that move. Be'er-Sheva is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. My four adult children and 5 grandchildren, all born here, still live and work happily in Be'er-Sheva. This is a place of endless opportunity and open horizons.