Sde Boker is a small kibbutz in the Negev famous for being home to David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, whos house is now a museum.
If you like nature, there is a lot to do in Sde Boker including hiking, Jeep tours, horseback riding, mountain biking, hot air balloon rides, birdwatching, and a Negev Safari.
History of Sde Boker
During the Israeli War of Independence an American volunteer named Jesse envisioned a farm in Israel similar to the cattle farm in Texas.
After the war, inspired by this idea a group of men from his unit applied to establishing the settlement and farm in the Negev.
They were denied at first, but the a few years later the Ministry of Agriculture drew up plans to settle the desert and the group was approved.
The kibbutz was founded in 1952 by a number of families committed to establishing settlements within the Negev Desert.
In May 1952 , the settlement was established as an privately owned agricultural cooperative intending to make their living from raising cattle.
Because of this, they decided to call the settlement “Sde Boker – a farm for raising cattle” and in January 1953, 200 sheep from Turkey were delivered.
Around this time, Ben Gurion was visiting near by Mitzpe Ramon and noticed a group of tents and basic buildings beside the road and asked his driver about it.
Ben-Gurion had vision of cultivating the Negev Desert and building up its surrounding towns such as Yeruham and Dimona.
He believed that eventually the Negev would become home to many of the Jews who would move to Israel.
Fascinated by the settlement which was northing more than of tents and basic buildings, the then Prime Minister had his driver to stop so he could tour it.
After returning home to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion wrote to the members of the kibbutz saything:
“[I have never] envied a person, nor the qualities of anyone or their property. But when I visited Sde Boker I was unable to stop being jealous and envious of you.”
Then the Prime Minister the requested to join their small and struggling kibbutz.
The members debated on whether or not to accept Ben Gurion.
On the one hand, having the Prime Minister as a resident would immensely help their cause, but on the other hand, he was an elderly man and not an able working body.
In the end, Ben Gurion was accepted with a margin of one vote.
In 1953 Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion resigned from office and moved to the Sde Boker and continued to live there part time after he returning to politics in 1955.