The Negev (//; Hebrew: הַנֶּגֶב, Tiberian vocalization: han-Néḡeḇ; Arabic: النقب an-Naqab) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region's largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba (pop. 209,687), in the north. At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin towns, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics.
Although historically part of a separate region (known in Roman times as Arabia Petraea), the Negev was added to the proposed area of Mandatory Palestine, of which large parts later became Israel, on 10 July 1922, having been conceded by British representative St John Philby "in Trans-Jordan's name".[a] Despite this, the region remained exclusively Arab until 1946; in response to the British Morrison–Grady Plan which would have allotted the area to an Arab state, the Jewish Agency enacted the 11 points in the Negev plan to begin Jewish settlement in the area. Within a year, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine allotted the area to the Jewish State, later Israel.
The desert is home to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, whose faculties include the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, both located on the Midreshet Ben-Gurion campus adjacent to Sde Boker.
In October 2012, global travel guide publisher Lonely Planet rated the Negev second on a list of the world's top ten regional travel destinations for 2013, noting its current transformation through development.