Eat, Meet, and Greet in Israel's Capital in the South

As part of OR Movement's vision and mission for Israel in 2048, we plan to create two new centers in the country: one in the north and one in the south. The center of the south, Be'er Sheva, is already well on its way to being the southern hub of culture, entertainment, and nightlife. Our efforts in Be'er Sheva have included bringing culture and events to the Old City, bringing partners to help launch new initiatives, providing relocation guidance and incentives to new residents and businesses, and opening the new state-of-the-art Gateway to the Negev Visitors Center in the Bloomfield building located in the heart of the Old City.

Here are a few great examples from Trip Advisor of how Be'er Sheva is turning into a featured hotspot in Israel!

Museums and Visitors Centers

The Gateway to the Negev Visitor Center

Start off your trip in the Negev’s capital of the south at the Gateway to the Negev Visitors Center for an excellent hi-tech tour about the past, present, and future opportunities of the Negev.

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Nightlife

Be’er Sheva is full of wonderful events, pubs, and a happening college scene. The Old City is especially known for its animated southern style nightlife.

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Other nightlife to check out:

Barbasaba, Ashan Hazman, Tapas bar, HaHalutz 33, Munchilla, Donkeys Bar, Cocoa, Roza, Manga and more>>.

Restaurants & Pubs

Some of Israel’s finest culinary secrets and friendliest Barkeeps in Be’er Sheva

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Other restaurants to check out:

Hasifriya, Goomba , Kepasa , Caldo , Arabica , Cafe Lola , Humus Said from Akko – Beersheba branch , The Green Falafel , and Pastina 

Enjoy Israel's capital of the south! Cheers!

From the Runways in New York City to the Negev Desert

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — "The young talented designers, Matan Shaked and Aviad Arik Herman brought a fresh and vivacious energy to NYFW. Also including Keren Wolf, the Picasso of jewelry, with her unusual scale and placement of art on a woman's body. The show was exotic and spectacular." Nole Marin, former judge of America's Next Top Model.

Fashion Week kicked off with "Desert Flower" runway. Hosted by OR Movement and Tahor Group, the runway show showcased fashion designers from the Negev desert in Israel, Matan Shaked and Aviad Arik Herman, with jewelry by Keren Wolf. The exclusive event took place on the 23rd floor of 666 Fifth Ave. The evening included multiple cocktail parties and a 40-minute runway show. A-list attendees from Project Runway, Love and Hip Hop and The Real Housewives of New York along with top fashion editors, bloggers and socialites were amongst the 400 guests. The event delivered an "out-of-the-box" presentation by OR Movement as an organization celebrating its important work of developing the Negev and Galilee.

The OR Movement is a leading Israel-based organization, dedicated to the development of the Negev and Galilee, together consisting of 75% of Israel's undisputed territory; to date, OR has established nine new towns, helped more than 40,000 people relocate to these areas and won multiple awards given by the president, the Prime Minister and the spokesman of the Israeli parliament.

"We always strive to give our clients unique ways to market their brands during an oversaturated NYFW. This time the collaborations of these three designers continue our efforts to bring magnificent talent from Israel to US." Tahor Group.

Keren Wolf's jewelry designs have recently graced the lips of Kylie Jenner for V magazine and several A-list celebrities, winning the coveted award of Jewelry Designer of the year 2017 in Israel. Matan Shaked is amongst the youngest fashion designers in Israel. He has been named by fashion influencers "The Wonder Boy of the Fashion World." His creative journey started at the heart of the desert in the Negev and continued with his summer collection 2018, affectionately titled Desert Flower.

The finale dress was designed by promising young Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman, best known for his "Jerusalem of Gold" gown, which caused an uproar of publicity at Cannes Film Festival in 2017. The final dress at this week's Desert Flower Runway combines authentic Bedouin elements with western touches by Herman, creating a symbolic cultural bridge for the region. The event as a whole and the final dress in particular brought new aspects of the region to New York, and tried to alter the perception of Israel through the lens of beauty and fashion. "This event is a platform for new ideas and a new approach to how different communities and cultures should join hands," said Roni Flamer & Ofir Fisher, the Founders of the OR Movement.

"We come with love to all the people living in Israel. We believe the communities need to find all the possible ways to live with each other, prosper and be financially, socially and religiously independent, next each other. Although we know it is hard to accomplish and is filled with endless challenges. This is the Rosh Hashana goal for all."

 

List of Sponsors:

Custom By W
Jonathan Cohen
Elliot Wicentowsky
Michael Wicentowsky
ICrave
Arbonne
Kas'tell
Catskills Distilling Company
ShopDrop
Madame Paulette
Awesome TV
My Jam TV
Boulder Kids
Kiinoa
Samba Energy
Beacon Capital
Baobob Group
The Algemeiner
Off the Cuff by Mimi Roth
Marc Bennett
Lori and David Moore
Kim Heyman
Zevia
Tates Cookies
Arnie and Hanna Mazur

Media Contact:

Tobi Rubinstein
917-685-8705
177355@email4pr.com

Mission: Sufa

Mission: Strengthen Negev border communities.

Location: Kibbutz Sufa, 2.7km from Gaza border crossing.

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Conditions: The privatized kibbutz boasts a firm economy and warm community atmosphere. Unfortunately, close proximity to Gaza makes them an easy target for rockets and deadly mortar shells. Even in quiet times, these attacks occur monthly.

Situation: Due to security fears, many young families have left the kibbutz. In addition, as the community grows older, the younger, new generation are choosing to live in more central locations.

Action Plan One: Market community to attract young families with a pioneering spirit.

Results: Six young families moved in to Sufa during the summer of 2017. In addition to the significant increase of young population, this brought uplifted spirits and hope for the community’s future.

Community members gather around a picnic to welcome the new families to Sufa.

Action Plan Two: Plant strong roots for the future, by establishing a local preparatory academy to train social leaders, and encourage them to use their leadership skills in the local border communities.

The Dream Team: We partnered with Kibbutz Sufa, Ein Prat Academy, JNF-UK, ICA in Israel, and other visionaries, to establish the Ein Prat Academy of Young Social Leadership in Kibbutz Sufa. The academy was dedicated in memory of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose life was taken protecting border communities during Operation Protective Edge, and who exemplified the ideals that the academy imparts.

Students of the academy fixing up the dorms, made up of homes which were abandoned for many years.
Students of the academy preparing the campus garden.
Students of the academy building shelves for their classrooms.

Results: In just a few short months, the facilities, faculty, and students were all in place! On August 2, 2017, the academy opened its doors to the first 41 students. The future is bright.

 

Do you believe in strengthening Israel's border communities? Together we can do it! Please share this post with your friends!

October – a Month of Missions

It’s been a Month of Missions

October was definitely a month of missions. There’s nothing like witnessing firsthand where your support is going, and that’s why we’re so glad we got to bring many of our friends on missions around the Negev and Galilee this past month.

The friends who came…

martin-lance-bike

We welcomed two Family Missions, the Halpern family from New Jersey, and the Menashe family from England. Family Missions are an excellent way to share experiences and discussions between the generations.

Martin Franklin and his friend Lance Armstrong led a VIP Mission of family and friends. The group took a few days to travel VIP style from one end of Israel to the other, getting an in-depth look at the full picture.

We were also pleased to welcome the Ruderman family on a mission in honor of their son’s Bar Mitzvah. Bar or Bat Mitzvah Missions create a powerful connection with Israel’s future that your child will always remember.

Over the holidays, several representatives of our partner foundations and federations from around the world came on Missions, to learn what’s new in the Negev and Galilee, and how their partnership is bringing Israel's future to life.

 

The things they saw…

visitor-center

On their Negev and Galilee Missions, our friends took many different stops. They stopped in Sansana, to see where the movement all began; in Carmit to witness a town rise out of the desert; in Nachal Oz to experience life right on the Gaza border; in Bedouin communities to meet a new generation of pioneers and innovators; in our headquarters to meet the people behind the scenes; in our new Negev Visitors Center to test out the exhibits before our launch; and in many more sites where the future of Israel is being born.

 

Now it’s your turn!

Now we’d like to invite you to come join us on a mission. See where your support goes, and what it’s been accomplishing in the Negev and Galilee. Be a firsthand witness to the future of Israel!

We added a new informative page to our website, to invite all of our friends and supporters to join us on Negev and Galilee Missions. Take a look and let us know what you’d like to see. Fill out the form and we'll help you plan your mission!

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Prepare Yourselves for a Tsunami of People

Itai Ilanai, Yedioth Ahronoth

So, how crowded will it be? Well, very. By 2048 the population of Israel will double itself. Israel’s population density is expected to be beyond bearable: 800 residents per square kilometer. How do we deal with traffic? Where will we all live? And how come we won’t have our own living room?

In the Tzoran community, not far from Netanya, a new and promising career for young people is becoming a reality; a career that lets you get off work before 8 AM. This new profession, which is expected to become very popular in upcoming years, is known as a "traffic babysitter."

 

"The babysitter arrives at 6 AM, wakes up the kids, makes sandwiches for them, and takes them to school. While all of this is happening we, the parents, are stuck in traffic,” explains Tzoran resident Braun Salman. “And why? Because Tzoran is basically under siege. To get out of town in the morning, we need to sit through 45 minutes of traffic just to get to Highway 4, where the rest of the country is stuck on the way to work.”

Some 10,000 people live in the picturesque town of Tzoran in the eastern Sharon area, which was founded in 1992 to offer a better quality of life for the neighboring regions. However, ultimately, this high quality of life has become restricted to the confines of one’s private vehicle. “It has gotten completely out of hand,” complains Braun Salman, who spends at least four hours on the road every day.

Over the past few months, Tzoran and residents of other nearby towns have been attending a series of demonstrations, in an attempt to bring about a solution for the transportation problems in their region. In all likelihood – if nothing changes – you will be joining them soon. On Ayalon North, the average speed at rush hour is 12 km/h, and the last five kilometers between Hayarkon and Morasha Junctions takes more than 30 minutes (for the sake of comparison, in the olympics, it takes less than 13 minutes to run the same distance). It is therefore evident that heavy traffic and congestion has become a national problem. Now imagine the traffic you go through on your way to work and double it.

Strengthening Israel's Peripheral Regions

The ever-worsening traffic is just one symptom of central Israel's ever-growing population density – as are the soaring housing prices. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2048 Israel will house approximately 17 million people, exactly twice the number of people who live in Israel today. Israel is already one of the 30 most crowded nations in the world, and this is true even when we disregard the millions of Palestinians who live among us between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Assuming we will not gain any more territory in the near future, and assuming, hopefully, that natural disasters or nuclear bombs will not annihilate a substantial part of Israel's population, on Israel's 100th birthday, the population density will reach a daunting 800 people per square kilometer. In central Israel, the number will be much higher.

The question is, what can we do right now, before the year 2048’s Independence Day, apart from already looking for a free spot for the traditional Independence Day barbecue. The OR Movement (for the development of the Negev and Galilee) is not waiting for the human tsunami that is expected to overflow the country and has decided to start preparing for the future right now. “We are currently writing the next chapter of Altneuland,” says OR Movement CEO, Roni Flamer.

The OR Movement was founded by four childhood friends from Petah Tikva who looked around and realized that Israel’s future is looking very grim – long before the words "housing" and "crisis" became inseparable. Since its establishment in 2002, the OR Movement established 8 new towns in Israel’s peripheral regions, and bolstered dozens of other existing villages and towns with new, young, and strong residents. “We believe that development and relocation bring about a stronger economy, culture, and commerce. The idea was to bring the people in, and everything else would follow,” says Flamer. Two years ago, however, OR looked around and discovered that while the emphasis they place is on Israel's peripheral regions, most of the country is still flocking to the center. "We realize that we have a problem," says Flamer.

Image: Yariv Katz

Recent analyses predict a bleak future. These analyses indicate that by 2048 humble cities such as Rehovot, Ramla, and Hadera will absorb all of the neighboring towns and will transform into monstrous metropolises with millions of people. For example, the Petah Tikva District, which currently houses 700,000 people, will have 1.6 million people in 2048 (with that in mind, we offer our blessings to anyone passing through Geha Junction). The populations of Ramla, Rehovot and Sharon Districts will also double themselves. It is no coincidence that all of these cities are located in central Israel. If the current trend continues, there will be 13 million Israelis between Nazareth and Kiryat Gat in 2048, with only 4 million people expected to live in the Negev and Galilee regions. In other words, 75% of the population will live on 25% of the land.

And if this is not enough, all of these millions of people are also expected to work at the same place. According to OR, approximately half of Israel's workplaces will be located in Gush Dan region and central Israel in 2048, as is the case today. Flamer is convinced that “the entire country will depend on a single economic center, a dependence that will result in societal gaps and an overall deterioration of Israel's quality of life." People who already belong to Israel’s lower socioeconomic echelons will be driven into Israel's peripheral regions, resulting in a "second" Israel, in which Arab Israelis and Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews are a clear majority, and in which the average income is profoundly lower than it is in central Israel. "In central Israel, we will see a developed, but highly crowded country, while everywhere else we’ll see a third world country," he warns.

OR’s solution, the new chapter of their Altneuland, is the continuation of their current agenda: sending more people from the Center to the Negev and the Galilee, in large numbers. The OR Movement’s Israel 2048 Project includes a plan to prevent the Center's overcrowding and Israel’s de facto subdivision into two separate entities. Its goal is to turn the Negev and Galilee into economic engines of growth that will attract strong population groups. According to this vision, on Israel's 100th anniversary, the Negev will have 3.5 million people and the Galilee will have 4.5 million people.

In such a country, we could visit the Disneyland of Dimona, a city of 200,000 inhabitants (current trends suggest that the city will house only 70,000 Israelis) on our way to the international Riviera in Eilat. Before we do so, we will pass by the Bedouin High-Tech Center of Rahat-Tel Sheva-Hura, with the next stop on our way south being the future city that will be built in the Negev, not far from Mitzpeh Ramon, and which will be founded upon the aerospace industry.

Bringing Prosperity to the Negev – Roni  Flamer

In Search for a Better Quality of Life

In addition to Flamer’s and OR Movement’s Ben Gurion-esque vision, according to which wealth and prosperity will become defining features of the Negev, other ideas stand out as well. "We need to make all of Israel similar to Central Israel," says Professor David Pasig, a futurologist from Bar Ilan University. “What I’m talking about here is a ‘city state’."

In Pasig’s vision, in 2048 most of Israel will become a type of Hong Kong, Singapore or Manhattan: a large and densely-populated urban center, a forest of skyscrapers, with traffic mainly being based on highly developed public transportation that takes place mostly underground. "Population density is not a bad thing," he says, surprisingly. "The greater the density, the higher the employment rate. If you do the right thing and transform Israel into a smart city-state, using new technologies and a better understanding of transportation, then this city-state will become a beacon of success.”

But even if the city-state built on the ruins of the Gush Dan is able to offer employment to everyone, how will it be possible for us to provide housing to the millions of Israelis who will live in such a dense and overcrowded area? “By 2048 more than 1.2 million new housing units will be built in Israel, an increase of 50% relative to today's number of apartments. It’s insane,” says Ronnie Daniel, the professional director of the Israeli Green Construction Council. "The entire country will become absurdly overcrowded. We need to know how to give a good quality of life to all these people."

For this purpose, the Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, founded the Israel 2048 competition, in an attempt to encourage professionals from a variety of disciplines to find solutions for Israel's built-up landscape on its 100th anniversary, with thinking outside the box being the main focus of the competition. Some of the solutions include a dramatic change in the way we perceive our most intimate living spaces.

According to Hila Beinish, the CEO of the Israeli Green Construction Council, with Israeli cities becoming more and more crowded, there will be no choice but to develop the concept of communal living, and to apply that principle inside Israeli homes. "The apartments themselves will become smaller, and communal spaces will become larger," says Beinish. "Since more and more people around the world have access to the Internet, and one can basically do everything remotely, it is more than possible that in the future will be a small workplace in each apartment building, which will save dwellers the daily trip to the office. In the evening, if you feel like entertaining guests, it will be possible to invite your guests to one of the building's living rooms on the "hosting floor,” using a computer system that serves the entire building. The “hosting floor” will include a kitchen and perhaps even catering services. Vegetables, for example, will be available in the many gardens that Israelis will grow on their roofs, as part of Israel’s future development of urban agriculture."

Who needs a car?

As part of the state-sponsored attempt to solve the housing crisis in central Israel, more and more agricultural spaces have been converted in recent years into a new type of crop: towers. Anyone who has spent any time in Israel recently has certainly noticed that the architectural emphasis of the 2000s is placed on tower-based neighborhoods, which have sprouted all over the outskirts of Israeli cities. These neighborhoods have been built in accordance with strict planning standards, which emphasize the need to prevent density and traffic congestion: towers are relatively far away from each other, the roads that connect them are wide and the distances between each intersection are substantial, thus enabling a better flow of traffic.

According to experts, however, this achieves the exact opposite. According to architect Dror Gershon, the CEO of “Merkhav – Israel’s Urban Movement,” recent studies show that despite the emphasis on towers, tower-based neighborhoods exhibit poor population dispersion and poor rates of land utilization.

Except that the biggest problem with these neighborhoods has to do with traffic. “These neighborhoods force dwellers to own two cars in order to maintain a normative household," explains Dr. Yoav Lehrman, an associate with the Planet Urban Planning company. “In these neighborhoods, the main entrance to the building is the parking lot, and if you don’t have a dog, it’s most likely that you’ll never actually take a walk in your own neighborhood.”

The solution is that in 2048 more and more people will live in neighborhoods in which owning a private vehicle is not obligatory. How do we do this? "We need to grow inward, not outward," says Gershon.

The neighborhoods of the future, then, are much denser, and they herald a return to the old urban landscape that meets all of the city dweller's needs – from employment and shopping to recreation and culture – and all within walking distance. Take Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood for example. “Florentine is a crowded neighborhood that fails to meet any current architectural standard," says Lehrman. "And yet it is a highly sought-after neighborhood in which a small and old apartment costs four times as much as a new three-bedroom apartment in Rosh HaAyin. And why? Because people can live in the neighborhood without having to use a private vehicle for everything. The problem is that the current system does not know how to approve construction projects of this kind today, and this will have to change. And soon. Otherwise, it’s going to get worse and worse."

First published on August 8, 2018, 7:52 PM. 

 

Seven Negev Wildlife You Might Not Know About

There’s the cute and fuzzy, and then there’s the one that snacks on deadly scorpions. Negev wildlife is as beautiful and exciting as it gets. Check out these seven desert-dwellers and tell us which is your favorite!

1. Syrian Striped Hyena

Photo: By Sumeet Moghe – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24265680

If you’re out at night in the underpopulated areas of the Negev desert, you might just hear some chatter and high-pitched laughter – from wild hyenas. Don’t worry, these peculiar creatures won’t bother you, so long as you leave them alone. They like to stay inside their dens, and Negev hyenas make some of the largest hyena dens on the world – they’re pretty good at chilling.

These fellows mostly eat fruit and scour the garbage, but occasionally they’ll steal a sheep or goat.

 

2. Dorcas or Negev Gazelle

Photo: By מינוזיג – MinoZig – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50246000

A metaphor for beauty and grace, these gazelle are a favorite to biblical poets.

The Dorcas Gazelle have adapted incredibly well to the Negev – they can go their entire life without drinking! They mostly get their hydration from the plants they eat, but given the chance, they will drink water. The gazelle are also great at handling the incredible heat, although they do like to stay in the shade until early evening when the sun begins to cool down.

If you’re luck enough to spot one of these gorgeous animals, be careful to keep a distance. They are very shy and afraid of humans, and might run off very fast, possibly with high jumps to warn their buddies.

 

3. Middle East Tree Frog

Photo: By Dûrzan cîrano – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11949448

Although they once lived as far as the Dead Sea, these jumpy amphibians have become an endangered population, and are now mostly concentrated in the Northern Negev, where there may be a few thousand. Look out for these frogs when you’re near marshes or water springs. You’ll have to look closely, since their green color camouflages them well into the shrubs and grass where they love to roam.

 

4. Otonycteris Hemprichii Bats

Photo: Charlotte Roemer, Wikimedia Commons

Are these the rebels of the bat world? Probably. Something about the Negev makes things stronger, because these bats snack on the deadliest of scorpions without batting an eye. These Negev bats are 7-8 centimeter long, a lot larger than their fruit bat buddies, so these meaty scorpions are a big plus on the nutrition board.

The Otonycteris Hemprichii Bats can switch between two flying modes when hunting for food, the “whispering gleaning” mode for hunting on the ground, and the “screaming” mode for the flying bugs they’ll eat when they’re being a little more normal.

Bats might mean nightmares for some, but the humans of the Negev are probably glad to have someone fighting the scorpions.

 

5. Ibex

By Little Savage – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1975262

You think you're a good climber? You've got nothing on these guys. Travel through the Negev and you'll find them casually walking up the steepest of cliffs and slipperiest of slopes – and when they're hungry, you may find them chilling atop acacia trees, nibbling on juicy leaves. The biblical verse "High mountains for ibex and rocks to shelter hyrax" (Psalms 104:18) is still true as ever today!

Israel's National Parks Authority have made these wily goats their symbol, and it's well deserved; the world's largest herds of ibex live in the Negev. Actually, there are so many ibex in the Negev, that in the city of Mitzpeh Ramon they have pretty much achieved pet status to the local residents, with almost no fear of the humans.

 

6. Rock Hyrax

By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23030418

These critters are cute. You’ll mostly find them in the rocky areas around the Dead Sea, the hyrax of the Negev are lighter and more orange in color than their family up in the Golan Heights. Here they tend to hide under the rocks, as they dehydrate rather quickly in the sun.

It’s adorable to watch these highly social fuzzballs, as they tend to live in groups, with one adult standing guard while the others feed or rest. Listen out for them too – they communicate with more than 20 different noises, and the higher ranking hyrax will give themselves away with the most chatter of the group.

 

7. Desert Hedgehog

Photo: By Max Korostischeveski – @, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2684142

So tiny! The desert Hedgehog is one of the tiniest in the world – weighing in at just 10 to 18 ounces. But don’t think that makes them easy to catch! When threatened, they’ll stick out their quills, which are incredibly long compared to regular hedgehogs, giving them an easy escape from danger. If you’re lucky enough to spot newborn hedgehogs, you’ll note that they’re born with their quills under the skin, so that they don’t hurt their mother during birth.

These tiny but fierce creatures are highly adaptable, and can be spotted even in busy Negev cities like Be’er Sheva.

Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments, and share on Facebook to ask your friends!

The Start of the Library of the Negev

See that picture up there? It's the start of something beautiful.

Okay, it doesn't look like much right now. But soon it will. Because a week ago, we started turning it into an exquisite space of knowledge and future: The Library of the Negev.

Sponsored by the Dukes family, via KKL – Slovakia, in partnership with KKL – Israel, this library is located in our headquarters at the OR Movement Gateway to the Negev, and right upstairs from the Negev Visitor Center. The library will be open to the public; anyone interested in learning more about the Negev will be encouraged to step right in – students, scientists, tourists, and especially visitor center patrons who are still thirsty for more info.

The entrance wall of the library will be entirely glass – a window to the future, led by the past. Upon entering, visitors will find books covering every topic related to the Negev: art, culture, geography, tourism, housing, “lands”, statistics, history, education, management, psychology, employment, and entrepreneurship (start-ups).

We hope that the library will start an intellectual conversation about the importance of the Negev – to our past, present, and future. Mostly, we hope that it will increase the wave of movement towards living in the Negev.

The Library of the Negev will open before November.

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