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Southern Israel Museums

There are some fantastic museums on offer in southern Israel. The famous Ben Gurion House in Kibbutz Sde Boker is a favorite for tourists, providing an insight into how the first prime minister of Israel lived. There is a fabulous museum that explores the heritage of Cochin Indian Jewry, the air force museum, a must for any aviation fans and the fantastic Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving Museum which provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the Bedouin culture and people. The museums in southern Israel are interesting, varied and well worth the visit.

Displaying 1-11 of 11 results.

The Omer Open Museum is one of three Open Museums in Israel, all located in Industrial Parks. All three of the Museums are also located on the periphery, in the Negev or Galilee. The reason for this is that the founder of the industrial parks and open museums, Stef Wertheimer, believed strongly that an equilibrium between the center of the country and the periphery must be maintained. The Open Museum in Omer consists of two halls for changing exhibitions of Israeli fine art, as well as a developing sculpture garden on the park's grounds. The sculpture garden contains works from the Museum collection, such as those of Ilan Averbuch, Shelomo Selinger, Ofra Zimbalista and Assaf Lipschitz.

The Mitzpe Ramon Visitor's Center is located on the edge of the Ramon Crater. In the Center, visitors can learn about the geography and geology of the area via large models. There is also an audio-visual presentation describing the formation of the Negev and its craters as well as bringing the history of the settlement of the Negev to life and detailing its flora and fauna. There is a window on the center's rooftop observation deck that provides a breathtaking view of the crater. The Mitzpe Ramon Visitor's Center is closed until August 2012 due to renovations.

Paula and David Ben Gurion's desert home in Kibbutz Sde Boker remains exactly as it was when he passed away in 1973, just as David had instructed in his will. Visitors to the house get to know the first Prime Minister of Israel through his house; the man who was a leader, visionary and truly lived what he preached. David and Paula Ben Gurion moved in to their desert home in 1953 and lived there for twenty years. The structure and furniture of the house exude modesty, simplicity and frugality. Gifts that David Ben Gurion received from individuals and organizations decorate the house, including gifts from colleagues and other famous figures in Israeli history. A library of 5,000 books sits in the center of the house and reflects David Ben Gurion's various fields of interest. It was in this room that Ben Gurion penned many of the books and articles dealing with his official activities. It was here that he wrote his memoirs. The garden landscape of the house has been expanded and is carefully maintained, decorated by maxims from Ben Gurion's philosophy and blown up photographs from the early years of the Kibbutz.
The Mitzpe Revivim Museum is located on Kibbutz Revivim, a community established prior to Israel's declaration of independence that played an important role in Israel's War of Independence. Three such outposts were set up in 1943 and their very presence influenced the UN's decision to include the Negev as part of the State of Israel in the 1947 partition plan. Mitzpe Revivim was besieged during the War of Independence by Egyptian soldiers and the hard battle was won by a handful of pioneers and Palmach soldiers. Visitors to the museum can view trenches, positions and bunkers and in the fortress of the settlement is an exhibition of items that bring to life how people lived in that period. Additionally, one can see communication and residential rooms, showers, the dining room, culture room, weapons room and old agricultural tools and tractors. There is also an exhibit on irrigation in the Negev. There are two tours available- one of two hours and one of four.
Southwest of Be'er Sheva, by the Hatzerim air force base is the Israeli Air Force Museum which takes visitors on a fascinating tour of Israeli aviation history. Over 140 aircraft and anti-aircraft exhibits are on display, including missile launchers and missiles. Additionally, aircraft used by the Israeli air force and some enemy aircraft that was captured by Israel, including Soviet Migs are also on display. There are guided tours at the Museum in a variety of languages. Also, special activities, heritage days and custom workshops can be coordinated. On holidays special activities and aerial shows take place.
The Cochin Jewish Heritage Museum is a fascinating museum and Synagogue located on Moshav Nevatim in the Negev. The Museum provides a glimpse into the rich Cochin (south-west India) Jewish heritage via an audio-visual presentation that informs visitors about the community and its customs. There is a display of original items dating back to the sixteenth century from the community and one can enjoy a tour of the unique synagogue.
The Museum of Water and Security in the Negev is located in Kibbutz Nir Am in an old concrete pool that contains two pipe links with the National Water Carrier. Beneath the pipes is a glass floor and under it an illuminated fountain. There are photographs from the early days of settlement in the Negev hanging on the walls of the pool. An audiovisual presentation depicts the Negev's security in Israel's War of Independence as well as the problem of water and with settlement of the Negev in the pre-State period. The Museum provides a fascinating insight into the problems facing the young state in this difficult area of the land.
The Ben Gurion Heritage Institute is an educational, pedagogical, research center that explores the figure of David Ben-Gurion, socialist Zionism, the establishment of the State of Israel and the army and their connection to the Negev. The Institute is based in Kibbutz Sde Boker which was Ben-Gurion's home for the last two decades of his life and has various branches in Israel, including in the Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. The Institute also publishes books that deal with the aforementioned areas and develops learning programs for schools and leadership programs for youth groups and the army.
The Joe Alon Center- The Bedouin Culture Musem- is located near to Kibbutz Lahav. The Museum explores Bedouin Culture- the Bedouin tribes are scattered throughout the Negev and Sinai deserts and have undergone dramatic changes in recent years as they have moved from a nomadic to a modern lifestyle. Items from Bedouin life such as clothing, weapons, agricultural implements and mannequins all bring to life the changes that these people have undergone as well as the richness of their culture. The traditional Bedouin way of life is fast disappearing and thus there was an urgent need to preserve and document this unique culture. How to get there: The Joe Alon Center lies in the heart of the Lahav Forest, near to Kibbutz Lahav, 20 km north of Be'er Sheva. From north take route six or route forty to the south as far as Beit Kama Junction. Continue on route 40 to Dvira Junction towards the Joe Alon Center which is signposted in brown.
The Lakiya Negev Bedouin Weaving was established in 1991 as an income project for the Bedouin women living in the Negev, South Israel. Approximately 150 women develop the traditional skills of spinning and weaving the wool and discover new skills of dyeing, producing and managing a business. Lakiya's rugs are all hand-woven on traditional ground looms using the wool of local desert sheep. The aim of the project is to revive and preserve a craft that is central to the Bedouin social and cultural heritage, with traditional patterns and colors incorporated into the contemporary lifestyle products. A visit to the Lakiya Negev Weaving Visitor's Center provides visitors with a chance to learn first-hand about the Bedouin way of life. One can go on a weaving tour led by Bedouin women and even hold a family event in the beautiful Bedouin tent which can hold up to 100 people. One can order Bedouin food, music and storytelling for the complete, authentic experience.
The Negev Museum of Art is located in the Old City of Be'er Sheva. The Museum's building was once home to a Turkish governor in the Ottoman period. It was built in 1906 next to governmental buildings and the grand mosque. During the British Mandate the building was the home of the district officer and then as a girls' school. After Israel declared independence it served as the municipality and later became the Negev Museum of Art. In 2004 the building was extensively renovated which included the installment of an elevator and the modification of the inside to modern museum presentation standards. Today the building is a preserved historic building. The museum is home to two galleries that hold temporary displays. Visitors can enjoy the exhibits as well as the live concerts held in the vast entrance yard in the summer. There are guided tours of the exhibitions every Wednesday at 17:00 and every Friday and Saturday at 11:00. There are also art workshops for children every Saturday at 12:00.


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