U.J.A. Leaders Pledge Ben-gurion to Build High School in Negev

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister of Israel who has retired to Sde Boker, in the Negev, and who came yesterday to the United States with a view to stimulating the interest of American Jewry in the development of the Negev, was visibly moved tonight by an announcement made at a dinner tendered in his honor by the Israel Education Fund of the United Jewish Appeal that the Fund will build a high school at the regional educational center in the Negev founded by Mr. Ben-Gurion. The announcement was made at the dinner by Charles J. Bensley, president of the Fund.

The planned high school will provide a continuing regional student base for the Negev institutions of special study and higher education, which include a teacher’s seminary, an archaeological survey unit, a school of Negev field studies, a museum devoted to flora and fauna, and a library. It will be a dormitory school, housing children from towns, villages and settlements scattered over the entire region, most of them from immigrant families originating in the Moslem countries of North Africa and Asia.

Mr. Ben-Gurion, in his address at the dinner–the first since his arrival in this country–called the IEF decision on the Sde Boker high school project “an act of faith and spirit. A desert area like the Negev can be conquered only by such acts, applied to the broadening and deepening of education for our immigrant children,” he said. He stressed that most of Israel’s natural resources have been discovered in the Negev, a barren region covering the southern two-thirds of the country, and that development of the Negev is considered essential to the country’s future industrial and commercial expansion. Joseph Meyerhoff of Baltimore, the Fund’s chairman, presided at the dinner which was given at the Essex House.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Ben-Gurion was honored at a reception tendered to him at the Plaza Hotel on the occasion of the appearance here today of “Days of David Ben-Gurion,” a 160-page pictorial biography published by Grossman Publishers, Inc. The Israeli leader reminisced at the reception on the years he spent in the United States where he married his wife, Paula. Mr. and Mrs. Ben-Gurion will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their marriage in New York.

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