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Be'er Sheva River Park

 

Be’er Sheva, known as the Capital of the Negev, is home to 200,000 residents. Through it runs Nahal Be’er Sheva (Be’er Sheva River), a muddy trickle of water except on the few days a year when flash floods run down its banks. The city’s image has mirrored the landscape. Despite its historical significance, many have seen Be’er Sheva as a stagnant backwater, culturally and geographically isolated from the modern miracle of modern Israel.

To thrive, the city must double its population, by keeping students from Ben Gurion University after graduation and convincing commuters from Jerusalem and elsewhere that Be'er Sheva is a desirable place to live. Jewish National Fund, through our Blueprint Negev initiative, is providing the means for a renaissance for this Negev metropolis.

The centerpiece of our efforts is the Be’er Sheva River Park, a massive water, environment and economic development project that is transforming the riverfront into a 1,700-acre civic paradise.

  • JNF has succeeded in cleaning up the river that had been used as a dumping ground for decades, and has completed half of the planned 8 kilometers of landscaped promenade on each shore. Engineers responsible for the success of the San Antonio River Walk are partnering with JNF to send water through the river bed year-round.
  • JNF plans to use its expertise in water rehabilitation to recycle the city’s water and transport it to a 23-acre lake for boating.
  • Beit Eshel, a heritage site from the War of Independence, has been carefully restored. Ancient wells, including Abraham's Well, as well as the Turkish Bridge that spans the river, are also being restored and will provide some of the many tourist attractions.
  • Plans include gardens showcasing desert flora and fauna, bicycle paths, recreation areas, an 12,000 seat amphitheater and 750 acres of new parks with 40,000 new trees.
  • The Old Turkish City is undergoing a transformation. Newly cobbled streets, widened sidewalks and restoration of lovely Turkish homes are creating a destination for dining and shopping.
  • The JNF/OR Gateway to the Negev Information Center is newly installed in a beautiful Turkish building, providing information to visitors on housing and job opportunities, and tourism.

The Be’er Sheva River Park will be an engine for the city’s rebirth. Working with the Israel government and other partners, the creation of a thriving waterfront district will attract new businesses and entice visitors passing through the city to stop, relax, and enjoy a green desert oasis that offers a wealth of possibilities for family recreation. With the construction of beautiful new homes, oriented toward the park and the river, young families are moving to this exciting new neighborhood. Be’er Sheva’s image is being transformed into that of a green and vibrant modern city, truly the capital of the Negev.

Read about the transformation of Be'er Sheva in a Jerusalem Post article.

Get involved and Donate to Be'er Sheva River Park . For naming opportunities call your local office at 888-JNF-0099.

 

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