Arad (Hebrew: עֲרָד; Arabic: عِرَادَ) is a city in the South District of Israel. It is located on the border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) west of the Dead Sea and 45 kilometers (28.0 mi) east of the city Beersheba. The city is home to a diverse population of 23,400 including Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, both secular and religious, Bedouins and Black Hebrews, as well as native-born Israelis and new immigrants. The city is notable for its clean, dry air and serves as a major attraction to asthmatics worldwide.
Although attempts to settle the area were made as early as 1921, the city was founded only in November 1962 as one of the last two development towns to be established, and the first planned city in Israel. Arad’s population grew significantly with the Aliyah from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the 1990s, and peaked in 2002 at 24,500 residents. The city has seen a decline in population ever since.
As the second-largest city in Israel in terms of jurisdiction, Arad contains a number of large public places and facilities, such as the ruins of Tel Arad, the Arad Park, an airfield serving domestic flights, and Israel’s first legal race circuit. It is also well known for its annual music festival, which was one of the most popular annual music events in the country until 1995.