A visit in Sde Boker following Ben Gurion’s vision of settling the Negev and developing it.
The story of Sde Boker begins in May 1952, when 14 young people settled in the Negev, unaided and to the dismay of the institutions’ residents. They established an agricultural cooperative and designated themselves as sheep and cattle growers. Due to the shortage of livelihood, they also engaged in mining of minerals, and ever fished for carp, who were brought in by them to Lake Yeruham.
When David Ben Gurion, the founder of the State and the first Prime Minister of Israel, retired, from his roles in the political realm, he chose to join Sde Boker and to join the young settlers. Ben Gurion and his wife Paula lived in a modest hut and and as a candidate for a membership in the farm, he worked as a shepherd. In the early morning hours, he would take a daily walk by foot along the highway.
“I wanted to be a full partner in the action from the very beginning,” he wrote, “It was the ideal that attracted me to Israel – to start all over again.” In his lifetime, Ben Gurion conceived the idea of settling the Negev, a vision that in the years later came true and became a reality: Cities, towns and dozens of vibrant agricultural communities based on desert agriculture rich with advanced technology.
Ben Gurion died on December 1st, 1973. In his will he asked to leave the house where he lived quietly for the next generations to come. Ben Gurion’s Hut which is no larger than a few tens of square meters, including a study with a library consisting of approximately 5,000 books from a wide range of subjects and languages, a modest guest room and two simple looking bedrooms.
Along the groomed trail leading from the entrance to the hut, a number of wide spaces where we’ll find explanations and selected quotes of Ben-Gurion regarding the settlement of the Negev. In one of the buildings we can view an audiovisual show about the life story of Ben Gurion and his legacy of developing the Negev. In the hut that served Ben Gurion’s bodyguards, a museum was established which displays a selection of personal items of Ben Gurion and his special connection to the Negev.
We’ll go south on route 40 about 3 km to Ben Gurion grave site National Park. On groomed space in Midreshet Sde Boker, the graves of David and Paula are located. From the Tomb there is a spectacular view of the channel of Nachal Zin, Ein Avdat and the surrounding desert landscape. The National Park was opened to visitors in 1982 and is a part of a desert promenade that begins here and continues east along the cliff. In the garden are plenty of typical desert zone vegetation and mountain goats walk freely alongside the visitors in search of food and water. The visit in the site is particularly impressive in the afternoon.