Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, to the south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel.
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. About a third of the city's population works in industrial workplaces (chemical plants near the Dead Sea
like the Dead Sea Works
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%. On 4 February 4 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 2000 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.
In the early 1950s, a north-south railway line was constructed, connecting Beersheba
and Dimona with the center and north of Israel