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 such as the railing-guide along the rooms). 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.
Sunday through Thursday: 08:30 – 16:00
Friday and Holiday eves: 08:30 – 14:00
Saturday and holidays: 09:00 – 15:00