Ben-Gurion’s Desert Home in Kibbutz Sde-Boker
David Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first prime minister and the national founding father or the state of Israel. On May 14th, 1948, Ben-Gurion formally proclaimed the establishment of the state of Israel, in the hall of independence in Tel Aviv.
In 1953 Ben-Gurion decided to resign from office and move to Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev with his wife Paula, becoming members of the new Kibbutz. Ben-Gurion believed Sde Boker was a “pioneering enterprise”, which fulfilled his Zionist vision to settle the Negev and “make the desert bloom”. While returning to office in 1955 required him to spend most of his time in the center of Israel, following his final resignation from office in 1963, he returned to his home in the desert.
Paula and David Ben-Gurion’s home has remained as it was left in 1973, fulfilling Ben-Gurion’s will, in which he instructed that their home should be open to the public: “I ask that the home in Sde Boker, which was my home until the day I passed away, shall be kept in its current state, including all furniture, books and magazines that are in it”.
The house reflects Ben-Gurion’s personality and world views, and the exhibits demonstrate how his personal and public lives intertwined. Visitors can enjoy a close encounter with Israel’s founding father and iconic figure, exploring different aspects of his personality and life. His library includes Over 5000 books in 9 different languages on a variety of different topics. The guest room includes artifacts of different symbols of the State of Israel: a map of Israel, Israel’s flag, Israel’s declaration of independence, and other national symbols, as well as pictures of his family and memorabilia from the east and from Jewish communities around the world. His slippers and the pile of books which were by his bed at his final days, remain exactly where he left them.
Right next to his Desert home, additional exhibitions have been put in place in order to provide visitors with additional activities and information regarding his vision for the Negev Desert, while shedding light on Ben-Gurion as a leader, a husband and a member of the Kibbutz.
Ben-Gurion’s Desert Home is part of The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute, established in 1976 following the passing of The David Ben-Gurion Law in order “to memorialize Ben-Gurion’s work and perpetuate his heritage through the subsequent generations”.
Gil Schnaider – Executive Director
Dana Ohana– Office manager and head of acquisitions
Yoni Gallitziano– Educational Director
Ziesel Miriam Rahimi– Marketing Director and guide (English/Hebrew)
Lena Targanskiy– Tour Guide (Hebrew/English/Russian) & Reception
Dov Mendelovich – Reception
Ayelt Ha’shachar Ben Shmuel– Volunteer Tour Guide