|Area||29,877 dunams (29.877 km2; 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.
The Municipality of Dimona was one of the development towns that were created in the 1950s with 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.
On 4 February 2008 an Israeli woman was killed and 38 others injured in the town by a Palestinian suicide bomber (see Dimona bombing).
Dimona is home to Israel's Black Hebrew community, governed by its founder and spiritual leader, Ben Ammi Ben-Israel. 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.
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.
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.
Dimona is twinned with:
Dimona is a small town in the north-eastern Negev desert of Israel. It is currently the third-largest city in the Negev, with population of about 34,000. Dimona is mostly known for the nearby nuclear research facility, which according to various unofficial publications is the home of Israel's nuclear weapons program.
Dimona was originally populated with immigrants from North Africa. In the 60s a sect of Black Hebrews who left Chicago in search of self fulfillment (as Christians) in the Israeli desert arrived in Dimona. Whitney Houston has relatives among them.
The most convenient way to get to Dimona is by train from Beer Sheva. Bus service is also available.
Dimona is quite melancholic, where the only excitement may be the occasional wind storm.
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