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Desert Operation

— Israel


It’s twice as big in area as Tel Aviv but it has only 200,000 residents – and a reputation for being dusty and dreary. Be’er-Sheva’s mayor, however, plans to change that. But the makeover leaves little space for the local bedouins.

bedouins, change, dreary, dusty, small population

“Look me in the eyes,” says Ruvik Danilovich, mayor of Be’er-Sheva. He wants to illustrate how straightforward the people of his city are but it’s also a demonstration of this dynamic 42-year-old’s personal style, somewhere between political showman and evangelical preacher.

This passion focuses on one thing: turning a long-neglected desert outpost, seen as little more than a comfort stop en route to Eilat, into an oasis of commerce, culture and tourism. If he is successful, Danilovich will not only be fulfilling the dream of Israel’s founding…


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