Kibbutz Sde Boker is among the pioneers of Jewish settlement in the Negev. Its name was taken from the nearby Boker Mountain and Boker River. The first settlers, formerly from the Intelligence Corps of the IDF southern command in the War of Independence and employees of the Ministry of Agriculture, settled on the land south of Halukim junction in 1952, intending to establish a sheep ranch. The settlers wanted to prove the options available in settling the Negev Hills and thus motivate national institutions into planning the entire region. However, years of drought, challenges due to distance and battle with Bedouins over grazing areas led to a dampening of this initiative. Out of the ruins, step by step, the young community started to develop and in 1953 was initially connected to the water pipe leading from Yeruham. The connection to external water sources enabled the settlers to overcome the harsh reality and realize their dream – to make the desert flourish and to live in the Negev. That October, Sde Boker was officially declared a kibbutz. Its first years in the very remote and isolated location were not easy. In the early 1970’s after the road was paved from Halukim junction to Tlalim junction, the kibbutz was connected with other communities in the regional council.
One of the most famous members of the kibbutz from the very beginning was David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of the State of Israel. Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula were kibbutz members and this is where they decided to settle down. In the spirit of his famous saying, “The People of Israel will be tested in the Negev”, Ben-Gurion wanted to serve as a personal example and lived in Sde Boker until his death in 1973. The kibbutz has preserved the home where he and his wife lived in the form of a museum open to the public, as part of the Ben-Gurion Heritage Foundation.
Nowadays, Sde Boker is a flourishing kibbutz that maintains a fully cooperative way of life, just as it did when it was founded. The community includes 80 families that jointly manage the means of production and sources of income, including: Davik plant (light industry), a poultry farm, jojoba plantation, boarding kennel, Chen Bamidbar gallery, a plant nursery and alternative medicine. Some of the members work in various jobs outside the kibbutz including teaching, accounting, working in the regional council, etc.
At the same time, the kibbutz has continuously promoted an education system that accompanies the children from infancy to the army, providing them, in addition to formal education, with high quality informal education frameworks and varied sports, cultural and recreational activities. From the community aspect, too, the kibbutz has always provided for the needs of the group and the individual within it, by establishing a clinic, swimming pool, playground, minimarket, gym and library.
Sde Boker is accepting families willing to take part in the cooperative kibbutz system and settle the Negev in the pioneering spirit that has characterized it through the years. The kibbutz is located on road 40, approximately 50km from Beer Sheba.