Keen debate surrounded the Israeli government’s decision about whether an independent university in the Negev could be sustained. Under acting Prime Minister Yigal Alon, following Levi Eshkol’s death, the University of the Negev was established. Its goal remains to promote the development of the Negev region, which comprises more than half of Israel’s territorial size. In 1973, after the death of Israel’s first Prime Minister, the University is renamed Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In 2013 there are more than 20,000 students within many institutes and departments, among them one for Desert Research, Nanoscale Science and Technology, Solar Energy, Bedouin studies, the study of Israel and Zionism, as well as Jewish and Israeli Literature.