Ben-Gurion's Desert Home at Kibbutz Sde Boker
Sundays to Thursdays 08:30 - 16:00
Fridays and Holiday Eves: 08:30 - 14:00
Saturdays and Holidays: 10:00 - 16:00
Arrival – about an hour before closing time
Kibbuts Sede Boker 84993, Telefax: 08-6560320 Tel: 08-6560469
Ben-Gurion's Desert Home at Kibbutz Sde Boker
Paula and David Ben-Gurion's desert home remains exactly as Ben-Gurion left it when he passed away in 1973. This was his wish as left in his will. The visitor will be introduced to Ben-Gurion as a man and as a leader and to the era in which he lived.
At the explanation areas which are located at the entrance to the site, a historical display is shown, telling about David Ben-Gurion's life and his connection to the Negev. The film was produced by new animation techniques. In the site's yard there are three activity areas on the subject of "Ben-Gurion and the Jewish National Fund", which include a sand map, two cartography maps and also a matching game with ropes. In the site there are also two activity rooms which are equipped with appropriate equipment suitable for conferences and events (projector, laptop etc.) in which a photo exhibition – "the Negev vision in the eye of the camera" is shown – people, places and fulfillment in the Negev, according to David Ben-Gurion's vision.
Also, three new exhibition rooms were built which display in various ways Ben-Gurion's doctrine and characteristics.
Gypsum house – Ben-Gurion and kibbutz Sde-Boker and the vision of the Negev.
An original structure, the first house built in the kibbutz, The display in this room shows Ben-Gurion and kibbutz Sde-Boker and the vision of the Negev.
Ben-Gurion's doctrine in the test of time - interactive tables – showing the following subjects: Negev, I.D.F. and the role of the youth. In addition, caricatures and various exhibits regarding these subjects are displayed. On the far wall wonderful letters written by youth to Ben-Gurion are shown.
Film on a huge screen about Ben-Gurion's leadership – The film is brought as a sequence of events regarding Ben-Gurion's leadership. The film presents the various sides of Ben-Gurion the leader.
Ben-Gurion's Desert home
Paula and David Ben-Gurion's home at Kibbutz Sede Boker illustrates, first and foremost, the life-style of a man whose personal example symbolized the genius of leadership. Ben-Gurion and his wife moved into their desert home in 1953. During his twenty-year residence there, the house was enlarged to meet the needs of his work and the reception of the couple's numerous guests. The home stands in its original format dating back to the 1960s (excluding minor renovations). Its structure and furniture exude modesty, physical simplicity, and frugality.
Decorating the house are many of the gifts that Ben-Gurion received from individuals and organizations. The items reflect subjects close to his heart: a picture of both the state's official symbol and a portrait of his colleague Yitzhak Ben-Zvi; a copy of the Declaration of Independence - gift from another Prime Minister, Golda Meir; a menorah (ritual candle holder) that plays the national anthem Hatikva (The Hope); and a large wall-map of Israel.
In the center of the house is Ben-Gurion's study containing a library of 5,000 books that reflect his various fields of interest: Judaism and Bible, philosophy, history and geography, military and defense. In this room he penned many of the books and articles dealing with his official activity. Seated at his desk, he wrote his memoirs, especially mindful of the generation of youth growing up in the State of Israel.
Specific objects, pictures and statues that Ben-Gurion chose to put up in the house are of special interest for they held a personal meaning for him: Moses - the leader of the Hebrew nation, who led his people from slavery to freedom; Abraham Lincoln - the emancipator; Mahatma Gandhi - who brought India to national independence while preaching non-violence; Plato - the Greek philosopher; Berl Katznelson - his confidant and close friend in the Labor Movement. All these express his world outlook that combined national values with universal ones.
David Ben-Gurion was born in the town of Plonsk in Poland (Czarist Russia) on October 16, 1886. Paula Ben-Gurion was born in the Russian city of Minsk in April 1892.
1906 - immigrated to the Land of Israel, and began working as a farm hand on the early Hebrew settlements.
1912 - studied law in Turkey with the intention of being elected to the Turkish parliament as representative of the Hebrew settlements in the Land of Israel.
1915 - expelled from the Land of Israel by order of the Ottoman Government; sailed for the United States where he became active in the Zionist "Hehalutz" organization.
1918 - enlisted in the Jewish Legion annexed to the British Army.
1919 - returned to the Land of Israel with the Jewish Legion.
1921 - elected Secretary of the Histadrut (Jewish Labor Federation).
1935 - elected Chairman of the Jewish Agency.
May 14, 1948 - announced the establishment of the State of Israel.
1949 - elected the State of Israel's first Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
1953 - resigned from office and became a member of Kibbutz Sede Boker.
1955 - called back to office as Defense Minister and later as Prime Minister.
1963 - resigned from office and returned to live on Kibbutz Sede Boker.
December 1, 1973 - died, and was buried at the Sede Boker Campus.