• Issue: October 1971
  • Designer: R. Errell
  • Plate no.: 330
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Sedeh Boker, a kibbutz situated in the harsh, arid plains of the Negev, 40 kilometers south of Beersheba and 18 kilometers south-west of Yeroham, has seen many changes since May 1952, when 20 enterprising men and women, having finished their military service, decided to establish an agricultural and sheep-rearing settlement in this deserted spot. With high hopes and a prophetic look into the future, these dedicated youngsters went ahead with their ambitious plans. No pasture and practically no water was available, but they were determined to succeed. Adopting the principles of ancient Nabatean farming, by the autumn of the same year the settlers managed to grow sufficient hay to tide their herds over the winter.

Isolation and the barren, rocky land spelt hardship and danger from Arab marauders. However, constant work and the indomitable spirit shown by the pioneering group brought its reward; for, in addition to its famous new members - former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula, who joined the kibbutz in 1953 - in the spring of 1955 sixty energetic young Israelis came to share in the experience of making the desert bloom.

Since that time, Sedeh Boker has forged ahead. Although still based on sheep farming and agriculture, its members have branched out into industry and tourism. The kibbutz develops the minerals found in the surroundings while attending to the partially reconstructed Nabatean town of Avdat nearby and providing facilities for its tens of thousands of visitors.

With the foundation of the Institute for the Study and Research of the Negev, close to Sedeh Boker, in 1964, the kibbutz has taken on a new importance. The Institute incorporates the district high school, a teachers' seminary, a field school, a library and a small museum. It is a favored center for special study courses and for youth groups from abroad.

Like almost every other place in Israel, just below the surface of Sedeh Boker are indications of far earlier settlements. Investigations in the immediate vicinity have revealed the remains of several Israelite villages and fortresses. Rock paintings depicting hunting scenes, some of which are thought to date back some 2,000 years, have been observed, while mounds of prehistoric flint implements - knives, borers and scrapers - have been discovered on an adjoining hill.

top top

Landscapes Of Israel (I)