Shimon Peres

Make the Negev Desert ‘Blossom As the Rose’

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, understood that the Jewish state’s future lay in the Negev. Indeed, he himself called the Negev home, and it was in his hometown of Sde Boker that, this past November, the development of the Negev once again became a national strategic priority. At a special government meeting held in commemoration of Ben-Gurion, some $500 million was allocated to jumpstart projects in the Negev, part of a $4 billion plan to develop this vast landmass. The challenge is immense, and the task of carrying out such a tall order imperative. While the Negev represents 60% of the Land of Israel, it is populated by a meager 8% of its population. Meanwhile, the center of the country is increasingly overcrowded, expensive and congested.