Negev, or Negeb, an arid upland area that makes up the southern half of Israel. Triangular in shape, the Negev is about 70 miles (110 km) at its greatest width, east-west, and about 120 miles (190 km) long. The land is rugged, with many canyons and dry streambeds. Hills in the west rise to nearly 3,400 feet (1,040 m); in the northeast, the shore of the Dead Sea lies far below sea level. There are no permanent rivers. Rainfall is low, averaging 1 to 8 inches (25 to 200 mm) yearly.
Using irrigation water piped from the north, scattered cooperative farms in the Negev produce crops of grain, fruit, and vegetables. Much of Israel's mineral output comes from the Negev, especially the Dead Sea area, where potash, bromine, and magnesium are produced. The principal towns of the Negev are Beersheba, in the north, and Eilat (Elat), Israel's port on the Red Sea.