No more money for hut? - David Ben Gurion
Photo: AFP

Ben Gurion's shed facing closure

Tourist attraction with over 60,000 visitors annually may close its doors within 30 days over budget troubles, failure to pay employee salaries

"Ben Gurion's shed in the Negev will be closed within 30 days if no budget is found to pay the employees' salaries," the Ramat Negev Local Council Head Shmulik Ripman threatened in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


The Ben Gurion shed is part of the Ben Gurion Heritage Institute which works to commemorate the State of Israel's first prime minister.


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In light of the institute's difficult financial situation, its employees have asked the Prime Minister's Office to provide them with a budget equal to that given to the commemoration of Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin.


In an official letter sent by the institute management to Netanyahu six weeks ago they claim that the annual budget of NIS 4.8 million ($1.2 million) which they receive from the Culture Ministry, is less than half of that awarded to each of the other centers which currently stands at NIS 10 million ($2.49 million) a year.


"The government budget directed at the institute does not allow for its regular operations," wrote institute chiefs. "As a result, the institute has reached a crisis point and there are concerns that it will have to halt all educational programs immediately and lay off employees. These steps will basically bring about the institute's closure."


On Sunday Ripman sent an additional letter to the prime minister in which he warns that he will be forced to close the institute within 30 days.


"Sadly, letters sent to your office and the Culture Ministry, the ministry responsible, has yet to garner a response. The practical significance of that fact is the closure of the Ben Gurion Heritage Institute," Ripman wrote.


"Please prevent this disgrace to the State of Israel," he added.


It should be noted that the Ben Gurion Institute, includes the shed, the Ben Gurion Heritage Institute in the Negev and Ben Gurion House in Tel Aviv. The hut alone has over 60,000 visitors every year and over 100,000 tourists pass through its "doors."


The Culture and Sports Ministry said in a statement: "Them ministry does not (financially) support the Institutes for commemoration of the late Prime Ministers' Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin, which are under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's office.


"The ministry supports the Ben Gurion commemoration institutes and does everything possible to increase its budgets.


"The ministry sees a great deal of importance in the Ben Gurion Heritage Institute's activities and will continue to do whatever necessary to help it out of its hardships."


The Prime Minister's Office was unavailable for comment.




פרסום ראשון: 07.23.12, 22:21
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