National stamp exhibition "Beer Sheva 82"

  • Issue: October 1982
  • designer: R. Hamburg
  • Sheet size: 115 x 75 mm
  • Plate no.: 48
  • Sheet of 1 stamp
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Beer Sheva is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Abraham made a covenant with Abimelech, king of Philistia following a dispute between their servants over the rights to a well in the area: "And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them to Abimelech, and they two made a covenant..., wherefore that place was called Beer Sheva, because there they swore, both of them.... and Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer Sheva and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God." (Genesis XXI: 27-33)

The planting of the tamarisk tree marks the transition from the life of a nomad to that of a tiller of the soil, living permanently in the shade of the tamarisk, while calling upon the Lord as "God Everlasting" marks Beer Sheva as the cradle of monotheism.

Beer Sheva was blessed with a supply of permanent wells; was situated at an important crossroad and was strategically important even in ancient times. During Biblical times Beer Sheva was the southernmost point of the Land of Israel, marking the limit of the cultivated area beyond which were to be found only nomadic tribes.

The beginnings of modern Beer Sheva go back to the end of the 19th century when the Turkish authorities set up an administrative center on the site of the water wells. They built the first four buildings - government house; a mosque; a regional school and the governor's residence. Among the first settlers of Beer Sheva were to be found a number of Jews who were particularly active in commerce and a Jewish "mukhtar" was appointed alongside the Moslem and Christian mukhtars.

In the year 1906 two Jewish families set up a flour mill in the town, the first mill in the desert apart from those in Gaza and Hevron. Within a short time, the site became the center of activity for the local Jewish community and a synagogue and mikve (Jewish ritual bath) were built to serve the 100 Jews living in the town.

During the first World War, Beer Sheva was an important military center which, at the same time became of increasing Jewish importance. The Jewish community was reinforced by the addition of Jewish soldiers stationed there and by laborers and craftsmen brought in to carry out vital construction projects such as the Turkish bridge over the Beer Sheva wadi and the railway bridges along the Sinai railway line.

The 1929 disturbances put an end to the Jewish community, and apart from one or two government clerks, not a Jew was to be found in the town until its liberation in the War of Independence.

With the establishment of the Jewish State, Beer Sheva was designated the capital of the south, the base from which the bare desert would be converted into a flourishing area.

One thing above all typifies Beer Sheva - its status as an immigrant town. The first immigrants to arrive were the refugees from the Cyprus detention camps, in 1949. They came to a deserted town and settled down alongside the demobilized soldiers who chose to set up home in this deserted place.

In February 1950 the Military Governor transferred responsibility for the town to a Town Council and in the same year immigrants from the four corners of the earth began to reach Beer Sheva. In the beginning, they were housed in transit camps - in tents and shacks which were at the mercy of the sandstorms and the burning desert wind. Gradually houses were constructed, workshops and factories established, an educational and cultural infrastructure created as each succeeding wave of immigration was absorbed with the help of its predecessors.

Today, Beer Sheva numbers some 1 30,000 souls and the town serves as an important economic center for the Dead Sea works of Sedom, the chemical plants of Rotem, the modern chemical complex of Ramat Hovev and the atomic energy research center near Dimona. The educational infrastructure ranges from kindergartens for 3-year olds, through elementary, vocational, secondary and technical schools to a teachers' training college and a school of physical education. The town boasts a University Hospital and Medical School and above all, the Ben-Gurion University. The links between Beer Sheva and the surrounding development towns are very close and the settlers of the Negev enjoy cultural events such as the theatre, music and art, but above all, Beer Sheva continues to play a leading role in absorbing new immigrants and integrating the varied communities.

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National stamp exhibition "Beer Sheva 82"