David Ben-Gurion in the Negev Desert in southern Israel. COHEN FRITZ/GPO

Israel’s Future Lies in the Negev

A fresh look at David Ben-Gurion’s grand vision for the Jewish state


Israel’s future depends on the Negev. The founder of the State of Israel did not just emphasize this, he also justified it from various verses in the Bible. In contrast to others, who had their sights set on the center of the country, he believed in a future for the desert.

In his famous speech on the Significance of the Negev in January 1955 he confirms, by using the Bible, why Israel must be committed without compromise to the restoration and revegetation, or cultivation, of the desert. We at Israel Today translated his speech. In doing so we became aware that the term Negev in English translations of the Bible is often exchanged and translated differently, for example with “south,” or just “wasteland” or “desert,” whereby the spiritual and political value of this desert gets lost.

David Ben-Gurion redressed this in his speech and presented it chronologically. His speech begins with the words: “The Negev is the cradle for our nation; on the one hand it is a dangerous weak point for the country, but on…