Eilat and the Negev Sights

Ben-Gurion's Desert Home

  • Off Rte. 40 Map It
  • Sde Boker
  • House/Mansion/Villa

Published 05/04/2017

Fodor's Review

Thousands of people make their way to this pilgrimage site every year. David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973), Israel's first prime minister, was one of the 20th-century's great statesmen. He regarded the Negev as Israel's frontier and hoped that tens of thousands would settle there. When Ben-Gurion resigned from government in 1953 (later to return), he and his wife, Paula, moved to Kibbutz Sde Boker to provide an example for others. "Neither money nor propaganda builds a country," he announced. "Only the man who lives and creates in the country can build it." And so, the George Washington of Israel took up his new role in the kibbutz sheepfold. In February 1955, he became prime minister once more, but he returned here to live when he retired in 1963.

Set amid the waving eucalyptus trees is Paula and David Ben-Gurion's simple dwelling, a testament to their typically Israeli brand of modesty and frugality. Ben-Gurion's small Negev home is commonly known as "the hut," owing to its humble

appearance. It's a one-story wooden home with a small kitchen, an eating corner with a table and two chairs, and simple furniture throughout. Visitors such as United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld drank tea with Ben-Gurion in the modest living room. Ben-Gurion's library shelves contain 5,000 books (there are 20,000 more in his Tel Aviv home, on Ben Gurion Boulevard). His bedroom, with its single picture of Mahatma Gandhi, holds the iron cot on which he slept (often only three hours a night) and his slippers on the floor beside it. The house is exactly as he left it.

Next door, in three adjacent painted-wood buildings, are exhibitions with original documents whose themes are the story of Ben-Gurion's extraordinary life in Sde Boker, his youth, leadership, and army service, and the leader's vision for the Negev. A film showing the footage of kibbutz members actually voting on his acceptance into their community is shown in the visitor center; the shop here sells gifts, jewelry, and books about the "Old Man," as he was known locally.

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Sight Information

Address:

Off Rte. 40, Sde Boker, Southern District, 84993, Israel

Map It

Phone:

08-656–0469

Website: www.bgh.org.il

Sight Details:

  • NIS 20
  • Last admission 1 hr before closing

Published 05/04/2017

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