Dimona

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Dimona (Hebrew: דִּימוֹנָה‎‎) is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, 36 kilometres (22 mi) to the south of Beersheba and 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. Its population at the end of 2007 was 33,600.[1]

Contents

Etymology

The city's name is derived from a biblical town, mentioned in Joshua 15:21-22.

History

Dimona was one of the development towns that created in the 1950s under the leadership of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. Dimona itself was conceived in 1953, and settled in 1955, mostly by new immigrants from Northern Africa, who also constructed the city's houses. The emblem of Dimona (as a local council), adopted 2 March 1961, appeared on a stamp issued on 24 March 1965.

When the Israeli nuclear program started later that decade, a location not far from the city was chosen for the Negev Nuclear Research Center due to its relative isolation in the desert and availability of housing.

In spite of a gradual decrease during the 1980s, the city's population began to grow once again with the beginning of the Russian immigration in the 1990s. Currently, Dimona is the third largest city in the Negev, with the population of 33,900.[citation needed]

On 4 February 2008 an Israeli woman was killed and 38 others injured in the town by a Palestinian suicide bomber (see Dimona bombing).

Population

Dimona is home to Israel's Black Hebrew community, governed by its founder and spiritual leader, Ben Ammi Ben-Israel.[2] The Black Hebrews number about 3000 in Dimona, with additional families in Arad, Mitzpe Ramon and the Tiberias area. Their official status in Israel was an ongoing issue for many years, but in May 1990, the issue was resolved with the issuing of first B/1 visas, and a year later, issuing of temporary residency. Status was extended to August 2003, when the Israeli Ministry of Interior granted permanent residency.

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