|• ISO 259||Dimona|
|• Mayor||Beni Bitton|
|• Total||29,877 dunams (29.877 km2 or 11.536 sq mi)|
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.
The city's name is derived from a biblical town, mentioned in Joshua 15:21-22.
Dimona was one of the development towns 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. Due to projected rapid population growth in the Negev, the city is expected to triple in size by 2025.
Dimona is described as "mini-India" by many for its 7,500-strong Indian Jewish community. It is also home to Israel's Black Hebrew community, formerly governed by its founder and spiritual leader, Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, now deceased. The Black Hebrews number about 3,000 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.
In the early 1980s, textile plants, such as Dimona Textiles Ltd., dominated the industrial landscape. Many plants have since closed. Dimona Silica Industries Ltd. manufactures precipitated silica and calcium carbonate fillers. About a third of the city's population works in industrial workplaces (chemical plants near the Dead Sea like the Dead Sea Works, high-tech companies and textile shops), and another third in the area of services. Due to the introduction of new technologies, many workers have been made redundant in the recent years, creating a total unemployment rate of about 10%. Dimona has taken part of Israel's solar transformation. The Rotem Industrial Complex outside of the city has dozens of solar mirrors that focus the sun's rays on a tower that in turn heats a water boiler to create steam, turning a turbine to create electricity. Luz II, Ltd. plans to use the solar array to test new technology for the three new solar plants to be built in California for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Geography and climate
Dimona is at an average height of about 550–600 meters above sea level. It is in the Negev Desert, therefore it has a desert climate with low humidity for most of the year and little precipitation. Summers are hot with an average max temperature of about 33C in August, the hottest month of the year. Average annual precipitation is about 100 mm (4 in), mostly during the winter.
In the early 1950s, an extension to Dimona and south was constructed from the Railway to Beersheba, designed for freight traffic. A passenger service began in 2005, after pressure from Dimona's municipality. Dimona Railway Station is located in the southwestern part of the city. The main bus terminal is the Dimona Central Bus Station, with lines to Beersheba, Tel Aviv, Eilat, and nearby towns.
- Lucy Aharish, news presenter, reporter, and television host
- Jacques Amir (1933–2011), Knesset member
- Yossi Benayoun (born 1980), footballer
- Kfir Edri (born 1976), footballer
- Ben Israel Ben Ammi (1939-2014), Anointed Spiritual Leader of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (Shomrei Hashalom)
Dimona is twinned with:
- "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 1,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2008.
- Udasin, Sharon. "‘1.2 million residents in the Negev by 2025’ | JPost | Israel News". JPost. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Ben Ammi". African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Calif. solar power test begins — in Israeli desert, Associated Press, June 12, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- Israel site for California solar power test, Ari Rabinovitch, Reuters, June 11, 2008.
- Brawer, Moshe (2009). University Atlas. Yavne.
- The African Hebrew Israelites: New black civilisation in the promised land" article written by Lester Holloway, January 1, 2004, for Black Information Link