SDE BOKER (Oct. 7)
Former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion celebrated his 77th birthday at his home here today by receiving a host of visitors and well-wishers including President Shazar and Premier Levi Eshkol, and by taking part in a variety of events including the groundbreaking ceremonies for the establishment of a library at this settlement which, he announced, would be part of what he described as an “Israeli Oxford,” a projected College of the Negev.
The project is sponsored by the non-partisan Negev Foundation which set as a goal a five-year construction plan to cost an estimated two or three million pounds per year for a college which would accommodate 1,000 students.
The library, construction of which will begin next week, will include Mr. Ben Gurion’s library. Funds for the project have been contributed by various groups including B’nai B’rith and the Histadrut of North America.
Visitors arriving by car were stopped some distance from Mr. Ben-Gurion’s house by a huge sign which declared: “If the Old Man walks, you can walk too. Leave your car here and proceed on foot. ” The visitors, some of whom had arrived by plane, gathered in the kibbutz dining hall where toasts were drunk to Mr. Ben Gurion with cups of fruit juice.
Among the events in which the former Premier took part was a festive meeting of the Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation at which Secretary General Aharon Becker announced that the Histadrut would publish a volume of Mr. Ben-Gurion’s writings on the Israel labor movement. Other events included a meeting of the Mapai Leadership Bureau at which Premier Eshkol presided; the first showing of the film, “Ben Gurion the Man and his Epoch”; a meeting of the Bible Circle with President Shazar presiding and a meeting of the board of governors of the Negev Foundation.