Athletics, dance & sports champions
Sports and dance organizations and groups:
1949 The Ha-Po’el Be’er-Sheva Soccer Team won the Israel Premier League Championships in1975, 2016, 2017 and 2022. In Israel, this team represents not only the City of Be’er-Sheva, but the entire spectrum of the Negev community. It has also represented Be’er-Sheva & Israel in various Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) leagues. In 1975, I had the honor of being Efrayim Tsvi‘s upstairs neighbor and one of his many fans.
1950 In the 1950s and 1960s, amateur boxing matches were occasionally held in three now-defunct Be’er-Sheva movie theaters. In 1956, two Jewish North-African champion boxers arrived, Prof. Suissa & Nissim Asraf. Nonetheless, the “Ha-Po’el” Boxing Club eventually failed. In the 1970s, Isaac Shtiel convinced Judge Eliezer Rivlin & Vice-Mayor Bentz Carmel to support this sport, and in 1975 “Betar Be’er-Sheva” Boxing was born. After the arrivals of former Soviet champion boxers David Katz & Leonid Mordekovitz (1975), boxing matches were held again in the “Makif Gimel” High School. Since 2006, Dmitry Reznikov (1977-), himself an Israeli champion lightweight boxer, has been coaching classical (Olympic) boxing in Nahal Ashan at the “Maccabi Be’er-Sheva” Boxing Club; several of his boxers have since become Israel Lightweight Boxing Champions. For example, in 2016 + 2017, the gold medals in the Israel Junior Boxing Championships (under 59 kg) went to Eitan Gavdolin and, in 2017, Maor Rozhnov won the gold medal (up to 38.5 kg) and Niv Rahamim won the gold medal (up to 46 kg).
1953 Zvi Bruner (1932-2009) first introduced men’s outdoor basketball in Be’er-Sheva (there were as yet no appropriate sports halls in the city). Then in 1954, brought volley ball to Be’er-Sheva. In 1985, the ASA girl’s team from the Makif Gimel High-School won the Israel ASA Junior League Volley Ball Championships and in 1989, the ASA girl’s team from the Korczak School did it again.
1960 During the 1960s-1980s, a number of champion wrestlers arrived to Be’er-Sheva from various parts of the globe, such as: Jackie Azoulai – Israel Wrestling Champion in the 1960s was followed by Hakiashvili in 1973. After the arrival Greco-Roman champion Coach David Netis in 1975, Be’er-Sheva began to achieve national and international recognition, dominating the Israeli championships from 1980-1988. Benny Chachashvili was the Israel Wrestling Champion at least 13 times. Also, Morris Chachashvili won Israel’s 1st gold medal for cadet wrestling at the World Wrestling Championships (WWC) in 1981; Moshe Ben-Simon got a gold medal for cadet wrestling at the 1983 WWC; and Meir Chehanski got a gold medal at the 1985 WWC. Others qualified to represent Israel & Be’er-Sheva at the various Olympics. In 1994, Leonid Shulman became the Israel Junior Wrestling Champion. By 1994, there were 3 professional freestyle wrestling schools in the city: “Ha-Po’el Be’er-Sheva;” “Maccabi Ami Be’er-Sheva” (founded 1994); and “Ha-Po’el Hesegi Be’er-Sheva” (founded 1998), that also began to train women wrestlers in 2003. In 2003, Gotcha Chachashvili won the WWC. During the 2010s, the Maccabi “Ami” Be’er-Sheva Wrestling Club, under coach Leonid Shulman produced a 5-time Israel Junior Freestyle Wrestling Champion, Liran Supitsky, in the 53-74 kgs. weight class. Then, in 2018, two young Be’er-Sheva wrestlers coached by Leonid Shulman at “Ami” took gold medals — Lior Altshuler (to 125 kg) and Uri Kalashnikov (to 86 kg) –at the International Competitions for Wrestlers under the Age of 20 held in Austria and also took 1st place in the 2018 Israel Wrestling Championships held in Be’er-Sheva at the Dennis Survival School: Uri Kalashnikov, Gennady Bungayev & Lior Altshuler each won 2 gold medals & Liran Supitsky and Liran Bungayev got 1 gold medal a piece. In 2022, Daniel Kagalovsky, an 11th-grader at Amit Comprehensive High School, became the Israel Junior Wrestling Champion in the 80 kg. weight class.
1960 During the 1960s, Shlomo Razi the city’s first ASA handball club. In 2005, Roni Tesler founded the Be’er-Sheva Handball Club; in 2010-2011, the children from the Rabin High-School won the Israel National Junior Handball Championship.
1965 The “Betar Be’er-Sheva” Table-Tennis (“Ping-Pong”) Club was born. In 1973, Mendel Noyman founded the “Ha-Po’el Be’er-Sheva” Table-Tennis Club. In 1979, Amnon Ben-Shahar became an Israel Table-Tennis Champion. Then, in 1993, the first women’s table-tennis team was established. The failed “Betar Be’er-Sheva” Table-Tennis Club was revitalized in 1995. Later, in 2008, Pavel Timnogorov took the Israel Cadet Table-Tennis Championships and Dan Matan won the Israel Junior Table-Tennis Championships both of them representing the local “Hovte Aryeh” Table-Tennis Association. In 2010, this time Timnogorov became the Israel Junior Table-Tennis Champion. In 2012, couples players, Ronel Davidov & Yulia Dubov, from “Hovte Aryeh” won the Israel (U-13) Couples Championship.
1974 The competitive Olympic sport of fencing was introduced into Be’er-Sheva by Boaz Lifschitz. In 1977/78, the first to become an Israel Champion Fencer (using a saber) was former Ukrainian champion Mikhail Fishman. In 1981, Elinor Artzieli, from the Technological College’s ASA Womens’ Fencing Team, won the Israel Womens’ Fencing Championships. From 1981-1989, the reigning Israel Fencing Champion from Be’er-Sheva was Gregory Gross, who was also the ASA & the Ha-Po’el champion, as well as the 1st place fencer at the 1981 & 1989 Maccabiah Games; he is still a fencing coach at the Be’er-Sheva Fencing Club.
1991 Year after year, the “Boris Dojo” Shotokan karate club, founded and coached in the Daled neighborhood by Boris Esctchin brings home medals and trophy-cups from the Israel National Karate Championships and from International Shotokan Championships all over the world. For example, in 2013 in Malta, they returned to Be’er-Sheva with 13 1st-place medals.
1999 The “Rogozarski Dojo” founded and coached by Predrag Rogozarski brings home medals and trophy-cups from the Israel National Karate Championships and from ASA Tournaments. For example, in 2008, Victoria Muhitadinov became the Israeli National Female Sparring Champion and the “Rogozarski Dojo” took 1st place in the ASA Open Tournament. From 2008-2017, Diana Petrescu has held the title of Israel Women’s Karate Champion (under 61 kg) and, in 2017, Coach Rogozarski‘s son, Matya, took 1st-place (under 75 kg). At the 2022 Maccabiyah Games, the brothers Matya Rogozarski (b.1999-) and Nikola Rogozarski (b.2003-) each won a personal gold metal, as well as a gold medal for the group heat.
2005 The Be’er-Sheva Center for Athletics and Trampolining and the “Maccabi Be’er-Sheva” Trampoline Teams are managed and coached by former Israel Athletics Champion Roni Tesler with Coach Yelena Kirchenko. In 2007, the Be’er-Sheva Trampoline Teams won their first of many gold medals in the Israel National Trampoline Championships that are often held in Be’er-Sheva. For instance, they won 5 more gold medals in 2014. 1st-place
2005 The ASA/Be’er-Sheva “Camels” Rugby Club (founded 1992), coached by Eduardo Kavrel at the BGU Sports Center, won the double: the Israel Cup and the ASA International Championship.
2006 A 10th-grade team from the “Rabin” Yud-Alef High-School took 1st place in the Israel Open School Athletics Competitions and was chosen to represent Israel and Be’er-Sheva in the 2007 International Sports Federation (ISF) World Schools’ Championships (WSC) in Athletics in Paris.
2006 The Academic Sports Association (ASA) of BGU won the Israel National Cup for Indoor Soccer, coached by Vikko Haddad. They then represented Israel at the International Federation of Association Football European FIFA Cup Finals.
In 2007 and 2009, the Maccabi Southern Region Rhythmic/Artistic Gymnastics School of Be’er-Sheva (founded 1997), directed by Diana Goldfeld, took 1st place in the Israeli National Championships. In 2011, it hosted the 1st International “Gymnostrada” in Be’er-Sheva and an Israeli National “Gymnostrada” in 2016. They continue to glean “Grand Prix” cups – http://www.rsj.co.il.
2016 The “Rager” Comprehensive High-School in Be’er-Sheva began hosting annual, Israel Open National Grappling Championships in conjunction with “Kivunim,”the Israel Grappling Association & the local club “Spirit,” run by Moshiko Ben Shimol, who arranged these yearly tournaments.
2017 Several students from the “Makif Gimel” High-School became this year’s Israel national champions: 7th-grader Tal Gan in judo (to age 14); 9th-grader Misha Shimon in freestyle wrestling; and 12th-grader Noam Ozer in ju-jitsu.
2017 14 young athletes from the “Negev Athletes” in Be’er-Sheva, trained by Idan Shapira (b.1982-), took 1st place in the Israel National Athletics Competitions held in Tel Aviv. The Israel champion team includes: Gal Kadmon, Juman Jubran, Anastasia Muchkayev, Daniel Kramer, Yif’at Zelikovitch, Laurel Greenholtz, No’a Berli’a, Dina Mazidov, Veronica Chainov, Galina Reznik, Sarah Misheyev, Margarita Belov, Alona Valodin & Tal Weiss.
2017 The Premier Negev Region Little-League Basketball Team (Be’er-Sheva + Bene Shim’on), under coach Ronen Yosef, took 1st place in the Israel National Championships.
2018 Be’er-Sheva’s “The Mexican” Minifootball Team (founded 2006 & owned by Guy Lautman) won all the Israel Minifootball Championships across the board: sevens, sixes and fives. ‘Minifootball’ is soccer played in indoor arenas, each team consisting of 5-6 players and a goalie.
2018/2019 The Amit/Wasserman High-School produced 9 Israel national champions, such as: two-time student champion Orel Yizraelov; wrestler (up to 92 kg) Yuri Kalishnikov; wrestler Ronen Kolesnik; wrestler (up to age 23) Danny Popov; 2018 Decathalon champion Israel Yashuk; 2018 Table Tennis champ Dennis Lev; 2018 judo (up to 48 kg) Etty Nisimov; student wrestlers (up to 52 kg) Rattan Agnisian and Sarel Yizraelov.
2018+2019 The Israel Reserve Basketball Team (up to age 20), starring two opening-5 players from HaPo’el Be’er-Sheva (in the Israel Premier League)—Team Captain Ya’ir Kravitz (b.1999-) and Amit Suss (b.2000-), has won the European Reserve Basketball Championships twice-in-a-row.
2019 The Kaye College Girls’ Rhythmic/Artistic Gymnastics Team, coached by Tatiana Abramson took 1st place in the August Israel National Gymnastics Championships, returning to Be’er-Sheva with 32 medals for various apparatuses, 4 cups, and the title of Israel Champions.
2021 The “Bet ha-Lohem” Wheelchair Basketball Team made it into the Israel Super League, under coach Gal Mailik.
Champion sportsmen/women and dancers:
1962 Tunisian judo champion Morris Smadja (b.1932-) arrived in Be’er-Sheva, effectively introducing judo into Israel. He began teaching in the Bet neighborhood. He trained his son [Shay] Oren Smadja, who brought honor to Be’er-Sheva and Israel by winning an Olympic bronze medal in at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona; another bronze medal at the 1992 European Judo Championships in Paris; and a silver medal at the 1995 World Judo Championships held in Tokyo. Former judoka Oren Smadja now trains bronze and gold Olympic medalists Or Sasson and Sagi Muki, respectively. In April 2022, at age 90, Morris Smadja was awarded a “Lifetime Contribution to Sports Award” for his coaching by the Israel Ministry of Culture & Sports and the Wingate Institute of Physical Education & Sports.
1965 Yehuda Kaplan settled in Be’er-Sheva and founded his school for competitive gymnastics in the Bet neighborhood. During the 1970s and 1980s, he also directed the Athletics Dept. of Ha-Po’el Be’er-Sheva (soccer & basketball). He coached his son Ron Kaplan (b.1970-, Be’er-Sheva), who won the gold medal at the 1989 “Maccabiah;“ became a 4-time Israel All-Round Gymnastics Champion 1989-1992; and went on to represent Israel at European, World & Olympic events. After retiring, Yehuda Kaplan coached people with special needs at the “Peninah” Sports Hall; after retiring ca.1995, Ron Kaplan became a TV sports commentator.
1990 World-class ballroom dancing couple, Evgeny Vaiman & his wife Lucy, founded the “Bravo” Ballroom and Latin Dance School in Be’er-Sheva at the Yud-Alef Community Center. Vaiman is an accredited international judge for the Amateur Israel Dancesport Association (A.I.D.A.), who also trained local international champions, Roman Borokhov and Yulia Prokopenko, and local national champions, Shay Greenberg (b.1996-) and Asliya Mirazahimov (b.2001-).
1991 Boris Esctchin founded the “Boris Dojo” Shotokan karate club in the Daled neighborhood where he has been producing national and international champions ever since, bringing great pride and recognition to Israel and Be’er-Sheva.
1999 Predrag Rogozarski founded the Shotokan karate club “Rogozarski Dojo” (which became the largest karate dojo in Be’er-Sheva), where he has been producing national karate and ASA champions over the years.
2002 Former judoka Tanya Simantov came as a child from Uzbekistan in 1993 to stay in Be’er-Sheva. From the age of 9, she trained with judo coach Igor Derek at the Be’er-Sheva “Fighter” Champion Judo Club. In 2002, 2004 & 2005 she was the European Junior Champion; in 2003, she won a gold medal at a European Youth Olympic Day (EYOD) in Paris; and she’s a 4-time Israel Women’s Judo Champion in 2003, 2004, 2007 & 2008.
2004 Soccer referee Moshe Buhbut from Be’er-Sheva entered the Major League.
2005 Ballroom dancing couple Roman Borokhov and Alexandra Kompanits (under the age of 21) represented Israel and Be’er-Sheva in the World Ballroom Dancing Competitions, where they took 1st place. From 2009-2015, Borokhov and his wife Yulia Prokopenko were the Amateur Israel Dancesport Association (A.I.D.A.) Champions. In 2012, Prokopenko appeared on Israel Channel 2’s “Dancing with Stars.” After becoming certified instructors, in 2012, the couple founded the “Tandem” Ballroom-Dancing School in Be’er-Sheva – www.tdance.co.il, 052-4714545.
2006 Marina Okhman (b.1982-) from Be’er-Sheva has, thus far, held the title of Israel’s Adult Women’s Weightlifting Champion for 11 straight years (2006-2017), for both ‘snatch’ and ‘clean and jerk’. She is also on Israel’s Senior Olympic Team.
2006 Bedouin judoka Rani Abu-Ghanim, trained in Neveh Noy by former Israel judo champion Coach Yo’av Lavi, became an Israel Judo Champion (to 90 kg) and played on the National Youth Judo Team. Coach Lavi also trained the 2009 Israel Judo Champion (to 90 kg), Itay Gorlitzky in Neveh Ze’ev.
2006 Dmitriy Rezincov a champion lightweight boxer from Russia has been coaching boxing in Nahal Ashan at the “Maccabi Be’er-Sheva” Boxing Club.” Rezincov trained 4-time Israel champion boxer (2009-2012) Victor Barak.
2007 Liza Bich (b.1995-) from Be’er-Sheva became the Israel Women’s Judo Champion at age 12, in the lightweight category under age 23.
2007 Hanit Schwartz was born in Be’er-Sheva (b.1988-) and played goalie in the Ha-Po’el Be’er-Sheva Women’s Soccer Team for 5 years, until doing her mandatory service in the I.D.F. Afterwards, she became a goalie on the Israel National Women’s Representative Soccer Team, where she has been in games at home and abroad for the last decade.
2008 Young athlete Tamari Dayan (b.1990-) from Maccabi Bene ha-Negev and “Rabin” Yud-Alef High-School became the champion of the Israel Women’s Septathalon and also earned the title: “Israel’s Junior Athletics Queen.”
2008 After being trained by champion Sensei Amit Hakim, Be’er-Sheva‘s junior mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Ram Banano took the title of Israel Champion of Champions and went on the represent Israel and Be’er-Sheva in Brazil, where he took the gold medal at the FILA International Grappling Tournament. Later in 2011, he won the Israel Brazilian Ju-Jitsu (BJJ) MMA Championship.
2009 Between 2009-2017, Israel champion Yevgenia Zabolotni, originally from “Maccabi Bene ha-Negev” in Be’er-Sheva, broke the women’s hammer-throwing distance record 25 times! Her latest record (2017) is 60.60 meters (=ca.198.82 ft). The current (2017) Israel Junior Hammer-Throwing Champion is Alona Valodin from “Maccabi Kivunim Be’er-Sheva” who broke the Israeli record for girls this year.
2011 Vitaly Semyonov opened a mixed fight combat (MFC) school in Be’er-Sheva, at 80 ha-Histadrut St., where a combination of: boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai & Israeli krav maga are blended into one self-defense artform. He has since organized three MFC tournaments that are open to all fighters who pre-register on the international website “Sher Dog,” so that the fighter, the fight and the outcomes may be officially recorded and published. The fights were temporarily being held in the parking lot in front of the “Narniyah” Events Hall (for lack of a more appropiate venue). Such MFC tournaments were not yet found elsewhere in Israel and put Be’er-Sheva on the national and World maps.
2013 Eyal Dadon (b.1989- in Be’er-Sheva) is a graduate of Bat Dor and is a modern dancer/choreographer who has created choreographies for the BGU student dance troupe “Pola” and who dances in and choreographs works for the “MiKan” Fringe Theater‘s dance troupe “Sol.” He has danced in “Kamea” and in the “Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.” In 2013, his dance solo “Intro” won the first prize in Eurograde, Bulgaria and in 2015, his work “Pishpesh” took first prize at the “International Choreography Dance Competition” held in Hannover, Germany. Dadon has also produced choreographies, such as the dance “Same, same” for the prestigious Stanislavski Ballet of Moscow that won the 2017 “Russian Creation of the Year” Prize. Dadon‘s works have been and are also currently being performed in China, Germany, Hungary, Russia and elsewhere across the globe – https://www.eyaldadon.com.
2013 Beershevan Shmil Yagayev (b.1994-) became an Israel National Boxing Champion.
2015 Be’er-Sheva resident Alex Raskopin (b.1995-) won the European Judo Cup for youth up to age 23, held in Lund, Sweden. Then, in 2017, he won the bronze medal in the European Judo Championships for youth up to age 23, held in Warsaw, Poland.
2016 The Be’er-Sheva ballroom dancing couple Shay Greenberg and Asliya Mirazahimov became the new A.I.D.A. Ballroom and Latin Dancing Champions.
2016 Be’er-Sheva-born Shai Barbivi (“Barbie,” b. 1996-) was born with an ailment known as ‘specific fibrosis‘ which kept him in a wheelchair. Despite his limitations, he succeeded in becoming a certified sports coach & physical-education teacher, the coordinator of a basketball team, and playing almost every type of wheelchair sports in existence. At age 20, “Variety” awarded Barbie its special award for “extending the boundaries of sports.”
2017 Following a hiatus of several years, the first MMA “Desert Combat” was held in the “Kunkhiyah” Sports Auditorium, where 14 veteran men & women competitors from 8 different MMA clubs across Israel fought before a crowd of some 700 fans of the sport. The winner of the main round was Alexander Nikulin (“The Lion”, b.1988-) from the Be’er-Sheva MMA Hajime Academy. A woman MMA fighter also training here is Laurita Chibiris (b.1994-), a Be’er-Sheva resident since 2002 [photo: Shai Shmueli]. It is hoped that this will become a regular, annual event here.
2018 “Bat Dor” ballerina, Lior Sheiner won 1st place in the Vancliffen “Attilas Akilas Silvester” International Ballet Competition held in Pietra Ligure, Italy.
2019 Be’ershevan world-class swimmer Daniel Polischuk (b.2001-) has qualified to compete internationally for Israel in various European Junior Open Water Championships.
2019 Denis Kozlov (b.2003-) from Be’er-Sheva represented the Israel Tennis Association (ITA) at the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) “Junior Boys International Tennis Tournament” held in Armenia, where he took 1st place.
2019 Moshiko Ben-Shimol (b.1989, in Be’er-Sheva) first earned his black belt in self-defense at Be’er-Sheva’s Dennis Survival School, went on to teach ju jitsu, and later founded several MMA schools across the Negev region. In November, Ben-Shimol was chosen to represent Israel in Sweden by fighting a showcase battle against retired Swedish icon, ex-Iranian champion, Reza Madadi, in defiance of Iran’s refusal to allow Iranians to compete against Israelis…
2020 Roy Yarlip (b.2006-), from Bat Dor Be’er-Sheva, won the 2020 Israel RAD (British Royal Academy of Dance) Scholarship Contest, granting him a year’s study at the ballet school in Yorkshire, England.
2020 David Pavlov (b.2004-) of Be’er-Sheva won the Israel Junior Power-Lifting Championships, coached by Manny Shemesh.
2020 Semiyon Brodsky (b.2002-), from the Be’er-Sheva Negev Athletes Club, won the Israel Junior Decathelon; and in 2021, he became the Israeli Senior Athletics Champion, setting 2 new personal records–for shotput to the distance of 12.87 meters and for pole-vautling to the height of 4.30 meters.
2020 Natural bodybuilder Gal Maimon (b.1996-) from Be’er-Sheva became “Mr. Israel” in the category of 69+ kgs. and Israel’s Champion of Champions.
In 2021, Be’ershevan natural bodybuilder Oshri Ben-Hanan (b.1981-) took second place in Israel.
In 2022, Nir Abelson (b.2010-) of Be’er-Sheva won the gold medal to become the Israel Judo Champion for Youth on the Autistic Spectrum for boys age 12-18.
In 2022, Beershevan fencer, Ran Treitel (b.2008), though only age 14, met the criteria for 17-year olds, and represented Israel in the European Fencing Championships held in Serbia, placing 56/77. Keep an eye on Ran…
2022 Shai Barbivai (b.1996-), who was born in Be’er-Sheva with a physical disability, became a presenter for the “Strauss Company” and also a member of the Israel Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Team that won the 2022 Paralympic College Championships held in the U.S.A.
2022 At age 74, veteran athletics coach, Barukh Shapira (b.1948-) received a “Lifetime Contribution to Sports Award” from the Israel Ministry of Culture & Sports and the Wingate Institute of Physical Education & Sports.
2022 Yitshak Amar (b.2004-), a student at Amit Comprehensive High School, trained at the “Spirit Dojo,” became the European Jiu Jitsu Champion (in the age 18 category) in the competition held in Crete, by beating 4 European karate samurais.
2022 Ori Sarusi (b.2004-) won the Israel Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Championship in the categories of up to 21 age and under 65 kgs., and will represent Be’er-Sheva’s “Spirit Dojo”, his coach Moshiko Ben-Shimol, and Israel in the European Championships.
2022 Four “Negev Athletes” who train in Be’er-Sheva, returned from the Maccabiyah with gold medals: David Hayun for running 110 m in 14.04 seconds; Noah Yaski for participating in the group 4×400 m relay race (as part of the Israel National Team; Roni Hovav won her gold medal in the junior high-jump contest by clearing 1.60 m; and Ilan Yashuk got the gold medal in the junior triple-jump.
For much more detailed information on historic Be’er-Sheva sports champions see the Hebrew book: The History of Sports in Be’er-Sheva (c2012) written by Isaac Stiel (a.k.a., Yitshaq Shatil, 1941-2019).
Winning groups of other contests/competitions/prizes/honors
Winning groups or institutions:
1973 Be’er-Sheva‘s E. Levant Chess Center, founded by Eliyahu Levant, a.k.a. “Mr. Chess” (1928-2017), is famous in all the international chess circles for having the second-highest rate of Grand Masters per capita in a city in the World (9 and counting…)–as a longstanding chess superpower. The players’ ages range from 4-90 (and they play in 42 competitive groups). In 2022, the Be’er-Sheva Club won yet another National Championship and the State Cup. In this predominantly male sport, Be’er-Sheva currently has 3 women World Chess Champions competing locally and internationally: Ilana David (b.1961-); Aleksandra Aleksandrova (b.1973-); and Alexandra Simchayev (b.2005-).
1991 Esterika Nagid, a successful Be’ershevan talent scout, initiated the Annual Be’er-Sheva and the Negev Beauty Pageants that provide Be’er-Sheva‘s official candidates for the Annual Miss Israel Beauty Pageant. From among those chosen representatives have come, thus far, 3 Miss Israels: Nicole Halperin (1989); Mor Maman (2014); Ma’ayan Keren (2015); also, in 1992, Sarit Afangar was chosen as the 2nd Runner-Up. Thus far, there have also been 5 more Miss Israels who were born in Be’er-Sheva and made us equally proud: the late Nili Drucker-Sasson, also known as “the Brooke Shields of Israel” (1986); Ravit Asaf (1992, who also reached the final round in the Miss World Contest and now manages her personal School of Cosmetics and Fashion in Be’er-Sheva); Miri Bohdana (1995, who also reached the final round in the Miss World Contest); Mirit Greenberg (1997); and Nirit Bakshi (2000). In 1995, Nagid also started the first annual contest especially for beautiful heavy women (weighting 80-120 kgs = ca.176-ca.265 lbs), entitled: Israel’s Miss Fat and Beautiful Pageant, breaking all the stigmas and conventions; and then she went on to hold two more such contests: The Married Beauty Pageant and The Senior Beauty Pageant, as well.
1995 The Israel “Sinfonietta” Orchestra, Be’er-Sheva (founded 1973) was awarded the Israel Prize for Music by the National Council for Culture and Art and, in 1998, the “Wandering Cylinder” Prize by the Israeli “Art for the People” Organization for its service to the entire Negev Region.
1998 The “Beit Moriah“ Community Center, located in the Daled neighborhood on Mendele Mokher Sefarim St., was granted an award by the Israel Ministry of Education’s National Council for the Child for making Jewish heritage studies available to immigrant and underprivileged children. In 2002, “Beit Moriah“ received the Israel Prime Minister’s Award “Magen ha-Yeled” (lit., child’s shield) for advancing proper nutrition in educational institutions. Then in 2011, it received a Midot “Seal of Effectiveness” for being an efficient and professional philanthropic organization.
2006 The BGU Youth Advanced Mathematics Club – “Kidumatikah” took 1st place in the Israel National Mathematics Championships.
2006 The “Kleen” Factory in Be’er-Sheva, that makes cleaning products, took 1st place in the “Israel Star” Contest for the swan-like design of its liquid dish-soap container; this design also represented Israel in the International “Worldstar” Competition for the Best Product Packaging – http://www.kleen.co.il.
2007 Every two years, Israel’s“Colmobile” Hyundai Motors Company chooses its best automotive diagnostician to serve as Israel‘s delegate to the South Korean Biennial “OlympiHyundai” Contest, where the leading experts from around the globe compete to provide the highest quality automotive services. The 1st place contest winner in 2007 was none other than Be’er-Sheva‘s Yaron Ruimi, who was chosen again to represent Israel in 2017.
2016 A Restoration Medal was awarded to the restored Great Ottoman-Turkish Mosque of Be’er-Sheva (built in 1906), currently serving as the Museum of Islamic and Near-Eastern Cultures, where relevant exhibits and lectures are regularly hosted.
2016 The Council for a Beautiful Israel awarded their Decade of Outstanding Beauty Award to the “Ha-Shalom” Elder Day Center in the Gimel neighborhood, run by “Matav.”
2016 A BGU-born agricultural technology company, “Enzootic,” founded in 2012 by Dr. Assaf Schechter and Prof. Amir Sagi, took 1st place at the International “Agribest” Conference Contest for the development of advanced agricultural products, held at the Weizman Institute.
2016 A group of 10th graders from the Makif Gimel High-School won the 1st place in the Israel National Competition for Young Entrepreneurs. They founded a company called “Pinapple” and created a product called “Kisoto” (lit., car pocket) –– a specially designed cloth with pockets to be hung inside an automobile that holds various items in an organized fashion, such as a mobile phone, coffee cup, flashlight, etc.
2017 For the first time ever, a group of bright high-school students from BGU’s Jusidman Science Center for Youth, after taking 1st place in the Israel National Robotics Olympiad, represented Israel in the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) held in Washington, D.C. Then again in 2018, the Robotics Team from the BGU Jusidman Science Center for Youth took the 1st prize in the Israel National Robotics Olympiad & will represent Israel in the 2018 World Robotics Championships held in Houston, TX.
2017 Following a survey taken by the Israel Ministry of Health of 11,000 patients treated at the 27 large, general-hospital Emergency Rooms in Israel, the Soroka Medical Center ER was found to be the most satisfactory (74.4%).
2017 Of the approximately 85 “Clalit” Medical Services “Smile” dental clinics located across the country, Be’er-Sheva’s “Shila” Cinic (founded 1995) took 1st place for its outstanding service.
2019 Seven Be’ershevan students in the Israeli Orthodox “AMIT“ Educational Network became physics champions at the Israel National Physics Olympics: 4 boys–Daniel Korkin, Leon Trosnitsky, Vladimir Yarmolenko and Michael Baloshvili, from the “Wasserman” High-School, and 3 girls–Hen Nahum, Kamilah Sharf and Ma’ayan Tsadik from the “Oriyah/Dykeman” Ulpanah.
2020 “Amal Re’ut” High-School of Technology (Be’er-Sheva) won the “3rd Annual Interactive Quiz: In the Footsteps of the Fighters in the South” sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Defense’s Dept. of Defense and Society, in which ca. 6,000 students participated.
2003 Be’er-Sheva-born mandolinist & conductor Shmuel Elbaz and his Israeli Mandolin Quartet took the 1st prize at the International Music Competition for Plectrum Instruments held in La Rioja, Spain. Then, his Israeli Andalusian Orchestra (founded 1994 in Ashdod, Israel) was awarded the 2006 Israel Prize for Music.
2005 Ronen Farache (b.ca.1971-, in Be’er-Sheva) began designing clothes while still a student at Makif Vav High-School; he then studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. He established his own design brand “Kuccita” and opened a bridal shop in Be’er-Sheva. In 2005, he founded “Farache Fashion.” He won the prestigious 2006 Israel’s Upcoming Designer Contest and his wedding and evening gowns are also sold in Tel Aviv and Paris.
2006 Sima Aviv, a resident of Be’er-Sheva, an artist, and a veteran Soroka Oncology Ward volunteer with the “Hayim” (lit., life) Association for Children with Cancer in Israel was awarded the Health Minister’s Shield for Outstanding Volunteers.
2006 Prof. Emeritus Gerald (“Geri,” Ya’akov) Blidstein (b.1938-2020), a long-time resident of Be’er-Sheva and lecturer at BGU, was awarded the Israel Prize in Jewish Thought after publishing numerous books and articles on Jewish law and ethics. Prof. Blidstein was also chosen in 2007 to be a member of the Israel National Academy of Sciences (a great honor).
2006 Ohad Ivri, a student in the BGU Dept. of Politics, Government & Communications, won 1st place in the “Roaring Lion” Competition, sponsored by the Israel Association of Media Consultants and Public Relations (ISPRA).
2006 Paul Schwartz, Head of the Be’er-Sheva Stamp Collectors’ Association won the gold medal in the World Stamp Competition held in Spain for his series of stamps called “Luxembourg.”
2006 Yan Wolfson immigrated from England to Be’er-Sheva and became an industrial expert in social responsibility and quality assurance while working for Bromine Compounds Ltd. He was appointed to serve on the ISO Working Group on Social Responsibility. Wolfson was the recipient of the 2006 National Outstanding Auditor of the Year Award and the 2009 National Outstanding Quality Worker of the Year Award. He is the Israeli Coordinator for “Responsible Care” (a program to promote responsibility and transparency in the global chemical industry).
2007 Be’er-Sheva’s Reuven Teper was named “the leading hairstylist in Israel” and also took 2nd place for his evening-out hairdo at the 2007 National Beautifaro Competitions. His salon is hairstyling salon is called “HeaDs.”
2007 Tamar Kronman (b.1990-) from “Ulpanat Ohel Shlomo” in Be’er-Sheva became the 1st runner-up of the Annual International Bible Contest for Jewish Youth, held in Jerusalem on Israel Independence Day.
In 2008, Elad Finish (b.1990-), from the “Amit” High-School in Be’er-Sheva took 1st place, wining the International [Hebrew] Bible Contest (Hidon ha-Tanakh ha-Benle’umi). In 2017, he developed a Hebrew Android app for preparing for the Hebrew Bible Contests.
2009 Students from the Makif Vav High-School took 1st place in the national “So Can I” Contest for their invention of a special ‘singing kettle’ for the blind.
2010 The Israel Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award was given to Kidushah Roitman-Bamenolker from Be’er-Sheva, who teaches at the Gevim Experimental School.
2011 Alon (“de Loco”) Cohen (b.1974-), a native Be’ershevan, a leading Israeli artist, producer & D.J. of hip-hop, R&B, reggae & dancehall music, appeared on the competitive Israeli Hebrew TV version of the reality show: “Living in La La Land” and won the competition. He’s currently signed to Geffen Records – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alon_De_Loco.
2014 Prof. Emeritus Shimon Glick (b.1938-), is an American-born physician and an esteemed member of the U.S. Institute of Medicine. From 1965-1967, he served as the President of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists of the US. In 1974, he came to Be’er-Sheva to help found the BGU Faculty of Medicine and then became Dean of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences (1986-1990). His specialties include: internal medicine, endocrinology, Jewish medical ethics & bioethics. He’s well-known for riding his bicycle to the Soroka Medical Center almost daily for decades. He also headed both the Prywes Center for Medical Education and the Jakobovits Center for Jewish Medical Ethics, as well as serving as a consultant for the Israel Ministry of Health. Glick was awarded the 2014 “Nefesh b’Nefesh Bonei Zion” (lit., builders of Zion) Prize.
2015 Be’ershevan barman and mixologist David Kalinchev (b.1989-) mixed the winning cocktail, called “El camello…loco” (lit., the crazy camel) for “Bar Shira” at the 2nd Israeli Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition, the goal of which is to create a new cocktail which would then be served in 14 other countries. Then in 2017, he represented Israel in the 11th Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition, where his original cocktail, called “1.25” was ranked in 19th place. Kalinchev runs the “Zalame Acbar Cocktail Bar” (f.ca.2017) situated at 4 ha-Nagarim St. in the Be’er-Sheva industrial area – 054-693-5522. https://www.zalame.co.il/eng. The only female competitor and winner of the 2018 Regional Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition, held in Athens, Greece, is Irene Benjamin (b.1993-)–also from the world-renowned Zalame ACB. World Class Israel 2019 ranked Gormi Sapiashvili (b.1991-) as the “Best Barman in Israel”–also from Zalame ACB and chose him to represent Israel in the 11th Annual Diego World Class Bartender of the Year Finals held in Glasgow, Scotland in September.
2017 Be’er-Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich was ‘dubbed’ a “Knight of Quality Local Government” by the Israeli Movement for Quality Government.
2017 Rina Matsliah (b.1956-) from Be’er-Sheva, a journalist and a respected radio/TV news & political commentator, who covered the major peace talks and agreements, was presented with the “Roaring Lion” Award by the Israel Association of Media Consultants and Public Relations (ISPRA), especially for her work uncovering the saga of the kidnapping of Yemenite babies and children.
2017 Award-winning BGU photographer Dani Machlis (b.1972-) has had his photographs published in international magazines, such as National Geographic Traveler and Popular Science, as well as in Israeli newspapers, like Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post. In 2017, his cover photo for the Baltimore Jewish Times, earned him the “Best Newspaper Cover Photo Award” granted by the Journalists’ Association of Maryland, Delaware & Washington, D.C. Machlis has a private gallery in his home in the Old City that he opens to the public – 052-8795883, http://www.danimachlis.com.
2017 Classical guitarist & primary “Sinfonietta” guest conductor, Doron Salomon, was the 1st Israeli to ever win a “Golden Guitar”–awarded to him at the 51st International Classical “Michelle Pittaliga” Guitar Competition, held in Alessandria, Italy each Fall.
2017 Also, the in-house composer of the Be’er-Sheva “Sinfonietta” over the past decade, Uri Brenner, was awarded the Israel Prime Minister’s Annual Composers’ Award for his creative blending of musical styles.
2017 Three social workers from Be’er-Sheva were recognized for their outstanding work in the field by the Israel Social Workers’ Union at its 19th National Conference: veteran social worker Dalia Ehud, Adi Lebron-Atia from “Yachdav” and Nur Shimei for her involvement in the “Girls change the world” project.
2017 The Israel Teacher of the Year Award went to two Be’er-Sheva teachers–wood-working teacher Shimon Hanan from the “Amit” Comprehensive Religious High-School and mathematics & language teacher Irma Hanani-Zizovi from the “Gavim” Public Elementary School.
2017 I.D.F. Staff-Sergeant Roman Rot (b.1994-), Head of the Air Force Team of Electricians; along with Staff Sergeant Mark Lampert (b.1995-), a combatant tank driver; Lieutenant Dr. Haim Shmuel Sokolik (b.1989-) from the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox unit), the battalion medical officer; Corporal Pikhara Alamo (b.1998-), an Ethiopian woman disciplinary officer at the “Sayarim” Base; and Hanoch Agra (b.1992-), at the I.D.F. Computers & Information Systems Center–all from Be’er-Sheva, received the Israel President’s Commendation for Excellence in Service.
2018 Emeritus Professor Elisha Qimron (b.1943-) won the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies for his research on ancient Israelite/Hebrew language and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He served in the Hebrew Language Dept. at BGU (1968-2013) and is a member of Israel’s Academy for the Hebrew Language.
2018 Emeritus Professor Dan Meyerstein (b.1938-) was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Prize by the Israel Chemistry Society. He served on the faculty of the Chemistry Dept. at BGU (1968-2004) and is also a member of the: American Chemical Society, Royal Chemical Society (British), and Academia Europaea, as well as serving as President of the Ariel University Center of Samaria.
2019 Idan Yehezkel, Director of Kivunim‘s Youth (13-18 yr. olds) Dept., was awarded nationally for his outstanding management and accomplishments towards improving the formal & informal educations of local teens–stressing social involvement and voluntarism; the prevention of violence and drug & alcohol abuse; and the promotion of leadership & pre-military training.
2020 Ori Segev (b.2003-), a 12th-grade student from Makif Aleph Be’er-Sheva won the national Van Leer Prize for an Outstanding Work in the Humanities for her paper on “Queerism and non-binary gender in Shakespearean sonnets.”
2020 Corporal Daria Tarsov (b.2000), an I.D.F. combat medic from Be’er-Sheva was recognized as being an “Outstanding Soldier of the Year.”
2020 Tsippi Mahrabani, from the BGU Chemistry Dept., was honored as the “Outstanding Administrator of the Year” by the Israeli Chemistry Society.
2020 Pastry Chef Moran Tabib-Zada (b.1983- in Be’er-Sheva) became “Israel’s Champion Restaurant Pastry Chef.”
2020 Twelth-grade student, Shilat Na’ar, at the Uriah Uplanah of Amit, received a medal of honor from the Israel Dept. of Education as “Outstanding Community Volunteer of the Year.”
2021 From Be’er-Sheva, among the I.D.F. Chief of Staffs’ “Outstanding Soldiers of the Year” were: armory warrants’ officer Staff-Sergeant Moran Michael (b.1999-); air-force maintenance officer Captain Dawn Sha’ul (b.1995-); & company commander Captain Shmil Yagayev (b.1994-).
2021 Eleventh-grade student, Ethel Philipayev, at the Amit Comprehensive High-School was chosen as “Be’er-Sheva’s Outstanding Young Volunteer in 2020” for her work assisting the elderly, the poor, and those hospitalized during the holidays.
2021 Beershevan, Magen David Adom paramedic, Ronen Grizek (b.1979-) was chosen nationally as “Israel’s Most Excellent Paramedic” for his outstanding service.
2021 Two Beershevan I.D.F. commanders, Major Sagiv Shalom (b.1978-) and Major Shay Hazzan (b.1977-), from the Southern Command, were awarded the “I.D.F. Campaign Ribbon” for their excellent service in the Lebanese Security Zone during the South Lebanese Conflict (1985-2000).
2021 Roni Ohayon (b.1999-), raised in Be’er-Sheva, participated for her second time in the Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, 2017 & Tokyo, 2021), due to her visual disability, playing center on the Israeli goalball team. She also became the new presenter for the “Telma” ad campaign for low-sugar breakfast cereals.
2021 Inbar Kedem (b.2003-), a graduate of the Jusidman Center for Excellence in Youth at BGU, was awarded a Prize for Developing an Innovative Computerized System by the European Organization for Food and Drink. His novel system is based on artificial intelligence and computer vision and identifies newborn crabs in bodies of water (that are used as sources of food protein throughout Asia).
2021 Yan Movshovitz (b.2005-), a 10th-grader at the “Amit” Religious High School, took first place in the “Physics Olympics.”
2021 Yasmin Azizov (b. 2010?-) from the “Yahdav” Elementary School in Be’er-Sheva took 3rd place in the Lions Club’s Annual International Posters for Peace Contest, supported by the U.N.
2022 Klalit HMO caregiver, Lilly Klayman, was chosen as the “Noah Moses Excellent Worker of the Year” for her service. Three other Beershevans receiving “Noah Moses Prizes” for their excellence are: Shoval Cohen, Manager of the South Caveret Online; Osnat Amar, Children’s Educational Coordinator; and Sarah Sarusi, Director of the Israel WIZO Residence.