Over the years, the City of Be’er-Sheva has won many national prizes:
In 2012, the city was awarded the “Design Medal” by the international architecture and design magazine “Domus” in conjunction with: Bezalel’s Dept. of Architecture; the Technion’s Dept. of Urban Planning and Construction; the Israeli Union of Landscape Architects; the Planners Union of Israel; the United Architects’ Association; the Center for Local Government; the Union of Urban Engineers; and the Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing–for the many aesthetic and interesting water features around Be’er-Sheva. In 2017 alone, the city received an Israel Culture and Sports Prize; a National Prize for Proper Management; and the Israel Minister of Interior’s Prize for Social Responsibility and Municipal Innovation. In 2018, Be’er-Sheva leads the major Israeli cities with the highest percentage of women elected and serving on its City Council (33%).
It has also been granted a good deal of international acclaim, such as being declared: “one of the 7 cities of the future on Earth” by the T3 Advisors and in Brandeis International School’s first Global Technology Emerging Markets Study.
In fact, the City of Be’er-Sheva was awarded the sum of $500,000 for 2017 and again for 2018 by the Bloomberg Family Foundation(New York, NY)to be used for the promotion of urban renewal, updating infrastructures and cleaning & maintaining public areas.
Special recognition of Be’er-Sheva as the paragon of animal rights & welfare – In 2018, the Israel Knesset’s Animal Rights Coalition chose the City of Be’er-Sheva as the Israeli city best exemplifying animal rights and welfare, and invited Mayor Ruvik Danilovich to speak about the many enacted & functioning pro-animal projects.
As of 1.1.2018, the Saban Birth and Maternity Center at the Soroka/University Medical Center has once again broken the Israeli national record for annual deliveries, having delivered a total of 17,144 babies in Be’er-Sheva in 2017! That’s about 47 babies per day! This includes ca.346 pairs of twins and 6 sets of triplets, born in the 25 private birthing suites. The Soroka Medical Center (founded 1959) is the second largest medical center in Israel that serves 60% of the country. Moreover, the Soroka complex is often awarded 5 stars for beauty in the “Beautiful Hospitals in a Beautiful Israel” Contest; a propos, the staff at Soroka claim that natural beauty is both comforting and has a therapeutic effect.
Also as of 2017, Be’er-Sheva is the foremost leader in engineering studies in Israel, with ca.8,000 engineering students.
Be’er-Sheva also heads the Israeli education charts with 1,470 high-school graduates who majored in social studies (social responsibility, civic action, community involvement), which is 65% of all Be’er-Sheva‘s 2017 high-school graduates–as opposed to the national average of 25% of all the annual graduates.
In 2017, the BGU Dept. of Hotel and Tourism Management became the first Israeli academic department in its field to be ranked by the prestigious, annual “Shanghai Ranking” of the worlds’ universities (in 42nd place).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a ‘healthy city’ is one whose government puts health high on its agenda. The goal of the WHO Healthy Cities Network is to help cities develop and promote a comprehensive and systematic policy with special emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups. In 2008, the City of Be’er-Sheva became a member of this international network.
Be’er-Sheva has successfully integrated new immigrant Jews (religious and secular) from 72 countries of origin (from all the continents), including the last remnants of the Jewish communities of Albania, Iran & Yemen, along with resident Christians, Muslims, Druze, etc. to form an ethnically diverse society–all living comfortably in heterogenous neighborhoods, working together productively, in an international, pluralistic, multilingual & multicultural environment. In fact, the International Metropolis Organization paid a special visit to Be’er-Sheva to learn how we did it so successfully.
Be’er-Sheva is an exemplary leader in Israeli voluntarism and civic action, in which all the volunteer organizations (NPOs) are coordinated by the umbrella organization “Re’em,” situated on the second floor of “Yad la-Banim” (located near City Hall), Sun.-Thurs. 9:00-12:00. Chairperson: Shoshana Agajany; Acting Director: Alin Haviv, 08-6416619, 054-4214251.
Be’er-Sheva‘s E. Levant Chess Center (founded 1973 by Eliahu Levant, a.k.a. “Mr. Chess”) is renowned in all the international chess circles for having the second-highest rate of Grand Masters per capita in a city the World (9 and counting, as of 2017)–a longstanding chess superpower. The current director is Ilana David (b.1961-), who is also the Captain of the Israel Women’s Chess Team. The center has players aged 4-90 (in 42 competitive groups). As of January 2018, Be’er-Sheva remains well-represented by the promising, young grandmaster Maxim Rodshtein (b.1989-), currently ranked no.2 in Israel, after participating in two Israeli teams that brought back international Olympic gold medals and ranked no.50 in the World for his strength in the FIDE international chess ranking – 08-6277431.
Together with Haim Shafir (b.1950-), who created the popular card game “Taki” in 1983, the “Lunada” Interactive Children’s Museum has, thus far, sponsored the first two (2016 & 2017, hopefully of many), annual National Taki Competitions in Be’er-Sheva.
In 2016, Beershevan choreographer & entrepreneur Liran Mikhaeli initiated, with the support of the City of Be’er-Sheva & the International Fringe Theater, the first “Fringe Dance Competition,” open to all original works by independent Israeli choreographers and dancers. In 2017, the winning dance “Orpheo,“ created by Idan Cohen won the 10,000 NIS Best Fringe Dance Prize; the dance “Eshte’olah” created by Sivan Peled won the 2,000 NIS “Kivunim” Unique Dance Prize; and the Outstanding Dancer Award went to Dana Zekharyah.
“Glidah Be’er-Sheva” (Be’er-Sheva Ice-Cream) is a home-made icecream and frozen-yogurt parlor located on Hadassah St. in the Old City. It was founded in 1950 by Polish immigrant Yulia Rotenberg (1912-2005) and has become yet another symbol of the city, with branches across Be’er-Sheva and Israel. Today second- and third-generation family members (Sharon, Shirah & Itamar Bar) carry on the family business.
In 2006, the Be’er-Sheva factory “Mishkan ha-Tekhelet,” located in the “Emeq Sarah” Industrial Park, produced the largest woolen Jewish prayer-shawl (talit) in the world, 8 x 12 meters (=ca.26 x 39 ft.), to fill an order placed by the Gur Hassidic community in New York. It is officially listed in the 2006 Guinness Book of Records. The factory has a Visitors’ Center where one can see how Jewish prayer-shawls are made – 08-6274161.
Since “Our future is inspired by our past” – join the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites – http://www.shimur.org.il. You are welcome to come to the Be’er-Sheva Office of the Society, now located in the Old City at Mordey ha-Geta’ot 74 and/or call Michal Leibovich at 052-7271053.