Built between 1930 and 1931, Ben-Gurion House was once the home of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. Today, the modest house in Tel Aviv is a historical museum and offers visitors a wonderful insight into the life of Ben-Gurion.
The Ben-Gurion House is set in a workers’ neighborhood at 17 Ben-Gurion Boulevard in northern Tel Aviv, the Ben-Gurion House was home to the pre-State Zionist leader and his family from June 1931 until 1953. When the family moved to a small residence in Kibbutz Sde-Boker in the Negev Desert, the house remained as an additional residence when Ben-Gurion visited Tel Aviv.
The Ben-Gurion House was one of three residences used by the Prime Minister of Israel – the private house at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev, known as his ‘desert home,’ and his official government residence known as Julius Jacobs House in Rehavia, Jerusalem.
The Ben- Gurion House
Designed by engineer David Tuvia, the original house had just one floor and was later expanded to include the second floor in 1946. The house’s ground floor was home to Ben-Gurion’s second daughter’s room, which also served as a shelter and bedroom during the Suez Crisis (Mivtza’ Kadesh, ‘Operation Kadesh’).
The second floor housed the bedroom and bathroom of Ben-Gurion himself, as well as a four-room library. Today, the library holds Ben-Gurion’s collection of periodicals and over 20,000 books in various languages, including ancient Greek, Latin, and Russian.
One of the rooms in the library served as Ben-Gurion’s study room. Here he read, studied, and wrote in his diary. The room also had a phone directly connected to the Defense Ministry’s office.
Visiting the House
Before exploring the museum, visitors to the Ben-Gurion House can enjoy an audio-visual presentation that focuses on the background of Ben-Gurion’s life and the foundation of the state of Israel.
The best way to discover the house’s history is on a guided tour, where knowledgeable docents lead you through the home, sharing stories of Ben-Gurion’s character and life work as a leader. You can also listen to symposiums and explore a myriad of historical documents and memorabilia dating back to his time as prime minister.
Photographs of Ben-Gurion meeting famous figures such as Einstein, Kennedy, and Nixon are displayed on the ground floor. The former PM’s library is on the upper level and filled with thousands of books in various languages.