Be'er Orah

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BE'ER ORAH (Heb. בְּאֵר אוֹרָה), training camp of *Gadna (the Israel pre-military youth corps) founded in 1950 in the southern Negev, 14 mi. (20 km.) north of Eilat. Youth were brought here in groups for periods of a fortnight or longer to combine the study of nature and farming with excursions, sports, and small-arms training. In May 2001 a ceremony was held establishing a civilian settlement near the training camp, with the same name. However, in 2006 it was still not inhabited. Be'er Orah, meaning "Well of Light," is a reversal of the former Arabic Bīr (Beʾr) Ḥindīs, "Pitchblack Well," so called by the Bedouin because the strong magnesia content of the local well's water was likely to cause illness.

[Efraim Orni]