Where to learn, train and exercise
Be’er-Sheva trains professional sports instructors and coaches at the Kaye Regional Teachers’ College. Kaye also has a School for Gymnastics with Sports Apparatus that trains 5-12 year olds; basketball classes for 7th-8th graders; Taekwondo (ancient Korean & Olympic art of self-defense) lessons; and more – 08-6402720.
Most of the local, regional & national Israeli sports leagues (other than local soccer, bowling & certain martial arts) practice with their coaches at the BGU Sports Center. For instance, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) soccer league teams and the Israel Academic Sports Association (ASA) swimming teams practice there; in fact, the Sports Center has a Swimming School, as well. The Be’er-Sheva “Camels” Rugby Team also practices there. The BGU Sports Center offers its students, staff members and their families a variety of courses, a fitness room, 2 large pools (indoor & outdoor), tennis and basketball courts, etc.
Those who become members of the Be’er-Sheva Country Club can also enjoy large (indoor & outdoor) swimming pools, saunas, a fitness room, a spinning room, a playground, tennis courts, sports classes for all ages, and special family events all year round. Located at 3 Ilan Ramon Way in the Ne’ot Lon neighborhood – *2234, 08-6419292.
“Kivunim” – the municipal company for recreation culture in Be’er-Sheva offers a broad range of sports classes in all the community centers and many of the schools, mostly for children and young people, such as the school for basketball (all ages & genders) – 08-6290060/9, http://www.kivunim7.co.il/hugim.
In addition, there are many private gyms, fitness rooms, dojos, studios, and various sports clubs located across the city. For some examples:
Nili Porat (b.1943-) brought the Feldenkreis technique to our city. Her Women’s Fitness Studio (founded 1973) is located at 21 Mivtsah Horev in the Vav neighborhood – 08-6440766.
Orli Elimelekh (b.1969- in Be’er-Sheva) recently opened her “Soy Studio” for dance & fitness (founded 2017) at 1 Montefiori St. in the Aleph neighborhood – 053-7157537.
“Dennis Survival” Ju-Jitsu (founded 1990 by Dr. Dennis Hannover, b.1937-) has taught thousands of young people and adults a unique style of effective, mixed martial arts. The school is located next to Makif Vav High-School at 8 ha-Talmud St. – 08-6433388, http://www.dennis-hisardut.org.il.
The Bowling Center, located in the “BIG” B7 Center, is open from 21:00-midnight and has a Bowling School and bowling leagues – 08-6232263.
The Maccabi Southern Region Rhythmic Gymnastics School of Be’er-Sheva (founded 1997), directed by Diana Goldfeld, took 1st place in the Israeli National Championships in 2007 and 2009. This Rhythmic Gymnastics School has branches across the city and a large staff of professional coaches who train the young girls in this Olympic sport – 08-6656447, 08-6650872.
The Capoeira Center of Be’er-Sheva and the Negev, teaches Brasilian martial arts in a number of neighborhoods. Directed by Adam Kadosh – 052-8761220; also “Abada Capoeira” for adults and children, taught by Itai Cohen, 054-3134533.
The Be’er-Sheva Center for Athletics and Trampolining (founded by Roni Tesler in 2005), teaches Olympic sports to children aged 4-12 and to members of the “Maccabi Be’er-Sheva” Trampoline Teams at the Rabin High School in Yud Aleph–also home to the All-City Little-League Handball Team – Coach Roni Tesler 052-8386981; Coach Yelena Kirchenko 052-2968112. In 2007, the Be’er-Sheva Trampoline Teams won their first of many gold medals in the national competitions. As a result, the Israel National Trampoline Championships are often held in Be’er-Sheva.
In many other private dojos across the city, masters teach different martial-arts styles, such as: the Bulldog Fight Club, that does mixed martial arts, including Thai boxing and Brasilian Ju-Jitsu, at 78 ha-Histadrut St. in the Old City – 050-3022203; Ninjitsu classes are taught at the Taubel Community Center in Gimel by Dan Gashi – 08-6230520; and Judo (Japanese martial art) classes are supervised by Olympic bronze medalist Oren Smadja at Bet Ariel – 08-6274086; there’s even Judo for preschoolers-teens in Nahal Ashan, taught by Itsik Shitrit – 054-7373078.
The Advanced Karate & Self-Defence School “Shin Do-Kai” Israel is run by Sensei Itsik Cohen in Neveh Noy – 08-6233178; Tet – 08-6434775; and Ramot – 08-6277576. Shotokan karate is taught by Sensei Predrag Rogozarski at the largest karate school in the city, Rogozarski Dojo (founded 1999), for ages 4 and up – http://www.rogo-dojo.com and by the successful “Boris Dojo,” (founded 1991) under Sensei Boris Esctchin in the Daled neighborhood – http://www.boris-dojo.com, 054-4634642. There is also the “West Coast” International School of Shotokan Karate and Self-Defence in Nahal Ashan, at 1 Amnon St. – 077-3003143, 054-2220360; and others.
Swimming and lifeguarding courses are given by “Oman ha-Mayim” (lit., the master of the water, founded 2000) in the Migdale Nof” Highrise on Mivtsa Nahshon – 052-2763556 or 052-8944443. At “Dolfine ha-Shalom” (lit., the dolphins of peace), Shalom Cohen teaches swimming to boys and men, while his wife Carmela teaches the girls and the women – 08-6496421, 055-5798847.
Be’er-Sheva has a couple of tennis clubs: the first to open was the Be’er-Sheva Tennis Club (founded 1976) in Aleph – http://www.tennis.org.il/contact/beersheba. The second was the Samson Israel Tennis Center (ITC) in Bet on Yehudah Halevi St., with Head Coach Yoav Schab – 08-6436444. There are also free public tennis courts in a number of other neighborhoods, such a Gimel, on Ben-Gurion Ave. near Kalisher St. Private tennis coaches are also available at Kaye College, the BGU Sports Center and the Country Club.
The Be’er-Sheva Municipal Fencing Club (founded 1974) was the leading fencing club in Israel in 2017. It trains at the Be’er-Sheva Technological College in the Aleph neighborhood, under coach Adam Zaretzky, a former, ranked world-class cadet fencer. Also, Be’er-Sheva‘s international fencing judge since 1989, Gregory Gross, was chosen to serve as an Olympic judge at the fencing competitions to be held in Tokyo at the 2020 International Paralympics (sadly cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Be’er-Sheva even has an American-style football team “The Black Swarm” (Heb., “ha-Nehil ha-Shahor” (founded unofficially 2009) playing in the official Football League of Israel (FLI) since 2011 under the auspices of the NPO “Negev Football” – 054-763-8696.
In 2017, the first Be’er-Sheva children’s roller-blade hockey team, the “Eagles,” was founded by Boris Rohkind and his son Yevgeni and, as a member of the Israel National League, competes for the city against others Israeli teams.
And there are private gyms and fitness programs, such as: “Ener-gym” – 08-6440011; “Great Shape” – 08-6652545; “Holmes Place” – http://www.holmesplace.co.il, etc.
And finally, there are many children’s playgrounds, small outdoor fitness areas scattered throughout the city, where the public can exercise for free at convenient times, and promenades for sport walking.
The free, public Be’er-Sheva Skate Park (founded 2013) has specially-designed courses for skateboarding and rollerblading. It’s located at the corner of Tuviyahu Blvd. and Ilan Ramon Way.
“Performance Rock” (founded 2016) at 4 ha-Atsma’ut St. in the Old City is a place to learn and practice rock-climbing – 08-6272721, http://www.performancerock.co.il
“Sky Kef” Skydiving Club is located less than 10 minutes from Be’er-Sheva at Sedeh Teman Airfield, North-West on Route 25 – 1-700-705-867. For my 55th birthday, my two former-paratrooper sons gifted me a tandem freefall parachute jump from 12,000 ft. (ca.3,660 meters). I felt I was flying and hovering like an eagle over the stunning desert scenery! I loved it! What a thrilling experience!
Where to watch live sports
At the new Toto Terner Stadium, at the “Kunkhiyah,” at the BGU Sports Center, and often at the many sports halls, courts, dojos and other facilities across the city, whenever special events, games, tournaments and contests are held throughout the year.
Where to get the special clothing, shoes and equipment
Sportswear and gear are available in many stores, such as: Aluf ha-Sport – www.alufsport.co.il, 08-9336615; Mega Sports – 1-700-705-040; Rikushet – 08-6235348; Adidas – 073-7555373; Bike Club & Shop at 60/122 Hevron Rd. – 08-6654726, and others.
Some annual city-wide public sports events
The annual Be’er-Sheva “Light Run” (since 2015) is generally held one night in May. The courses are 2.5, 5, or 10 kilometers long and the ca.5,000 participants must pay and register to run. People also come out in droves to line the courses and cheer the runners on as they pass by. A good time is had by all (except for drivers who must avoid the race-course area of the city that is cordoned off for hours). “Athena holkhot rahok” – is a one-day regional event to empower women in sports and to promote women’s fitness usually held each year at the end of November. Groups of women and individual women come from the entire city and region to the Bell Park in the Neveh Noy neighborhood to meet and compete, to march and exercise outdoors – 073-2853958.
An annual, educational family bicycle tour is held every June in Be’er-Sheva to promote bike-riding safety in memory of Yossi Chiprut, who was killed in 1997 in a biking accident at age 13 and became an organ donor, thus saving others. This biking event is organized by the Makif Alef High-School and the Chiprut family.
Every Fall, an annual, national Ha-Po’el youth basketball tournament is held in memory of Aziz Abu Taha, a legendary team-bus driver & basketball fan, at the “Amit” Religious, Comprehensive High-School in Bet.
There are also certain organizations, such as the Police and various other large companies in Be’er-Sheva that have running and/or biking races each year for their employees, just as some of the academic institutions have sports days for their employees. And also the Histadrut – Workers’ Union occasionally sponsors a “Sportiada” – a competitive sports day for all the various local unionized workers.
In 2016, the City of Be’er-Sheva first hosted the national “Special Olympics” celebrations, in which tens of mentally challenged runners, accompanied by police and students, participated in the traditional Olympic torch run through the city’s streets.