• Issue: August 2004
  • Designer: Zvika Roitman
  • Stamp Size: 30.8 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 581 (2 phosphor bars)
  • Sheet of 9 stamps Tabs: 3
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: offset

The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute offers a wide variety of educational activities dealing with the State of Israel, its birth, and its development in the spirit of Ben­Gurion's basic values: total commitment, Zionism and statehood. The institute owes its existence to the 'Ben Gurion Law' - passed by the Knesset in 1976 - for "the commemoration of Ben-Gurion's work and perpetuation of his legacy in the coming generations." The Institute also strives to realize Ben-Gurion's vision of creating a research and educational center in the Negev - adjacent to Kibbutz Sede-Boker.

David Ben-Gurion, leader of the Zionist Movement and Israel's first prime minister, was born on September 16, 1886 in Plonsk, Poland. He immigrated (made aliya) to Eretz Israel in September 1906, with the intention of being a farm laborer. However he quickly became deeply involved in politics, reaching the position of head of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) and later chairman of the Jewish Agency - the spearhead of the World Zionist Movement. In this capacity he led the Zionist Movement in some of its crucial decisions: the application of restraint in the face of Arab attacks during the pre-state period; acceptance of the Partition Plan for dividing Palestine into two separate national states; cooperation between the Hagana (the major pre-state Jewish military organization) and the Etzel and Lehi (smaller pre-state Jewish underground movements) after World War II; and the announcement of the Jewish State's independence. When Israel officially became a sovereign state, Ben-Gurion assumed the dual role of prime minister and defense minister.

In 1953, he resigned from office and joined Kibbutz Sede-Boker in the Negev - an act that symbolized the importance of the Negev and Zionist pioneering. He returned to government as defense minister in early 1955 and later that year was elected prime minister. He resigned from office at the age of seventy-seven, but continued to serve actively as a Knesset Member and politician until the early 1970s. Throughout his career, Ben-Gurion was a key figure in formulating Israel's social values. decisions  and orientations -social solidarity, commitment to settlement, absorption of new immigrants, and the priority of defense issues - are as relevant today as they were in the first decades of the State. On December 1, 1973 Ben-Gurion passed away and was laid to rest in the Negev, at the education and science center that now bears his name - Midreshet Ben-Gurion.

The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute operates according to the concept that studying the past provides a better understanding of the present and a constructive attitude toward the future. This concept underlies all of the Institute's programs. Activities are designed according to the needs and views of specific groups, linking participants to Zionism and Israeli history. The Institute endeavors to restore the pioneering spirit to the public agenda as the integration of statehood and personal involvement, and the commitment of Israelis and Jews to solidarity and common goals. The relevancy of the values that guided Israel's founding fathers is examined in the light of contemporary events.

Ben-Gurion's desert home at Kibbutz Sede-Boker and the Ben-Gurion Archives (that has expanded exponentially into an invaluable source of documentation for scholars) also serve as key elements in the Institute's educational programs. The Institute is housed in a building that was designed as Ben-Gurion private quarters, but the "Old Man" refused to leave the kibbutz. The central hall (originally planned as a library) is undergoing  renovation and will soon become an information center for teachers and educators from Israel and abroad, and for the general public.

The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute

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The Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute