The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute
The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute was created as part of the ‘David Ben-Gurion Law’ (1976). It is a historical-educational body, based in Midreshet Ben-Gurion in the Negev, with a northern branch in Haifa. It examines the core themes of David Ben-Gurion’s legacy – Mamlakhtiyut (or republicanism), Leadership, an Exemplary Society, Pioneering and Negev – raising ongoing questions of their relevance to Israeli society and the Jewish world today.
The educational activities examine important issues in the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and Israeli society in depth. They challenge participants using thought-provoking methodologies, critical viewpoints, and an emotional experience to encourage them to take action.
They take place all around Israel and reach varied audiences – pupils, teachers, principals, members of the Security forces, business sector directors, retirees, overseas groups and new immigrants, guided in their own language. Aside from this, the Institute staff also write educational books and aids aimed at the formal and informal educational system.
A new interactive movie is available in Midreshet Ben-Gurion: ‘The People’s Trial’. The participants can influence the formative decisions in five burning issues: the Declaration of the State, Altalena, Status Quo, Population Dispersion and Diaspora Israel relations.
The Ben-Gurion Desert Home in Kibbutz Sde Boker is an integral part of the Institute. It is an educational museum tourist complex, with an advanced guidance center and ongoing exhibitions. The Desert Home complex serves as a source of inspiration for long term vision, decisive leadership and pioneering activity, refusing to accept reality as it is, and aspiring to improve it. Recently an experiential Pioneering ODT part was created in the complex. Participation in the Park invites examining values of pioneering, defined by Ben-Gurion as “a refusal to comply with reality”. In addition, a new exhibition “The Old Man and the People” recently opened and examines three test cases of communication between the leader and people.
The Institute, just as Ben-Gurion, sees the desert as a tool to build the nation and a space for innovation in many fields. The desert facilitates fascinating meetings with regional characters, breathtaking beauty and an internal journey of the visiting group itself.