Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ben Gurion’s resting place

The owners of our B & B had made a magnificent attempt to build a garden with sun-loving plants and stone rockeries. This was not a good time of year to judge it. Just as an English garden, starved of sun may not be at its best in winter, so perhaps a desert garden may show off its colours to greater advantage in a cooler time. Certainly June was a very hot time of year to be there.

We were to leave the area on Monday afternoon, 20th June. In the morning, we joined our cousins for breakfast. (The owners of the B&B were away, and we didn’t want to use their cooking implements and raid their food cupboards, so apart from a cup of tea, we left everything as it was.) I took another photo of the local environment, and can almost feel the heat, as I look at it now.

It was decided to go to the Ben-Gurion’s Tomb National Park, which was a walk away from our cousins’ home. Two of the children had gone to nursery, but we took the youngest child and went with our cousin, while her husband was at work at the college.

We were able to sit beneath a tree, and there were other mothers and babies sitting around too. We also watched the ibex - a kind of goat, grazing on the grass in the park. Despite the desert conditions, here at least, grass did grow and vegetation grew in amongst the stones.

It was tempting to stay under the trees, doing nothing, but the park is the home of the graves of David Ben-Gurion - the first Prime Minister of Israel - and his wife, Claudia. To have travelled all that way and not visited them would have unforgivable.

Ben-Gurion and his wife had settled in kibbutz Sde Boker on their retirement. As Wikipedia says: ‘He saw the struggle to make the desert bloom as an area where the Jewish people could make a major contribution to humanity as a whole.’ It was also his wish to be buried on this spot over-looking the desert.

Looking at this view is like looking at a landscape on the moon.

After lunch, our cousin took us and one of the children in the car to the bus station at Be’er Sheva, where we caught the bus. It was a pleasure to travel in this air-conditioned, comfortable vehicle, particularly without having to worry about the driver’s problems, as in our trip out. As we neared Jerusalem, which felt very much like home by then, we were able to watch the scenery change.

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