​​​​​To read Prof. Dan Benor's speech at the unveiling ceremony of the Founders Square, Feb. 2017



Professor Moshe Prywes, z”l

Professor Prywes was the founding dean of BGU's medical school and the Faculty of Health Sciences. Born in Poland in 1914, he studied medicine in Paris and in Warsaw, and during the Second World War served as a medical officer in the Polish army. He was subsequently exiled to a gulag in Siberia, where he served as a physician and surgeon responsible for the health of some 28,000 prisoners. After the war, Prywes went to Paris, where he joined the medical management of the Jewish health organization OSE. In this capacity, he initiated and led the program to eradicate tuberculosis, trachoma and ringworm in North African Jewish communities during 1947-1951.

From 1951, Professor Prywes devoted himself to medical education and was one of the founders of Israel's first medical school, the Hadassah medical school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was subsequently appointed deputy dean for medical education. Professor Prywes was the first president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, serving between 1969 and 1974, as well as one of the founders of the medical school and its first Dean.

In recognition of his international contributions, the French Government awarded him the title of Chevalier de Légion d'Honneur. This was the first of many prizes Prywes received, culminating in Israel's highest honor, the Israel Prize, awarded to him in 1990 for his lifelong contribution to medical education. Prywes also founded the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences and was its Chief Editor until his death. 

On a personal level, while fate was smiling at him elsewhere, Prywes lost his first wife, Iza, at the age of 49. This was the first of a chain of tragic personal events that included the loss of his son-in-law in combat during the October War in 1973; the loss of his second wife’s son, Rafi, in military action in Sinai; and, the loss of his second beloved and admired wife and companion, Raquela, ten years later in 1985. Paradoxically, however, these personal tragedies invigorated the endless energy and determination of this unique man to strive for the achievement of his goals. He died in 1998.

Professor Prywes left a unique imprint on BGU's school of medicine and the Faculty of Health Sciences as a whole, reflected in the ethos of a common mission and responsibility shared by students and faculty, empowering students as ‘stakeholders’ in their learning process, and nurturing a commitment to, and an involvement with, the wider community.​​

Professor Haim Doron 

​​Born in Argentina in 1928. Immigrated to Israel in 1953 after obtaining an MD from the University of Buenos Aires. Practiced as primary care physician in the Negev, and then went on to study Public Health in London (1960-61). Served as Director-General of Clalit (Kupat Holim) Health Services (1976-1988). Prof. Doron was the instigator and driving force behind the integration of Clalit's health services with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as well as the establishment of its Faculty of Health Sciences. Through his dedicated and consistent support of the Faculty over the years Professor Doron contributed decisively to its uniqueness and success.

Prof. Doron specializes in Public Health and Medical Administration, and is one of the founders of the National Institute for Health Policy Research. He received an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Ben-Gurion University as well as a Life Acheivement Award from the Ministry of Health.

Professor Aaron Antonovsky, z”l

Professor Aaron Antonovsky (1923-1994) was born in New York and earned a PhD in sociology from Yale. He immigrated to Israel in 1960, where his initial research (in Jerusalem) focused on social class differences in morbidity and mortality. He joined the faculty of Ben-Gurion University in 1972 as a professor of the sociology of health.

Professor Antonovsky played a key role in the revolution in thinking and research emanating from the sociology of health as a research domain, including the role of stress and personal disposition, handing stress as health factors. In particular, he was renowned as an original thinker and researcher for his theory of health and illness: the salutogenesis model. Antonovsky was one of the pioneers of a holistic orientation to medical practice and a new physician-patient relationship – elements that underly the vision of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He championed the use of personal interviews with candidates by the medical school’s Admissions Committee (which he headed), in order to select students not solely based on academic ability, but also their personal qualities - tolerance and empathy, a sense of mission and community involvement - qualities emblematic  of what came to be labeled ‘”the Beer Sheva spirit”’.


Professor Ascher Segall

Professor Segall was born in Montreal, Canada (1929) and holds an MD from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (1956), as well as a PhD in epidemiology from Harvard University (1962). He established and served as Director of the Teacher Training Program at the Harvard School of Public Health, which evolved into the Center for Educational Development in Health (CEDH(. Together with colleagues at CEDH, he has developed a systematic and competency-based approach that aims to improve the teaching of preventive medicine and public health. In 1973, Prof. Segall was invited by Professor Moshe Prywes to join Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and help in applying the CEDH model to curriculum development as Associate Dean for Education at the newly established medical school.

Professor Segall also was Chief Medical Officer for Health Manpower Research at the World Health Organization (1984-1988) and advised the Aga Khan Foundation, the US National Institutes of Health, the US Veterans of Foreign Wars, and many other organizations.

In parallel to his consistent interest in and commitment to  increasing the impact of education as an effective public health intervention, Professor Segall conducted epidemiological research on subjects such as the effects on health of chronic exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation, comparisons of cardiovascular risk factors between immigrants from the United States and Canada to Israel and their non-migrant siblings, and identifying determinants of geographic variability in cancer mortality in the United States.

Professor Dan Benor 

Professor Dan Benor was born in Tel Aviv in 1935.  He is a graduate of the Hebrew University's medical school, and has been a resident of the Negev ever since. Dr. Benor was, in essence, the first 'integrated physician' in Israel, combining an (extended) residency in internal medicine with 22 years practicing family medicine in kibbutz and moshav settlements in the Negev. 

Professor Benor is one of the founders of the FOHS at BGU, where he formulated the med school's Early Clinical Exposure Program and built a system for evaluating achievement - including the 'integrative test' and served as Vice Dean for Education. Professor Benor edited Sustaining Change in Medical Education, a book that describes the Faculty of Health Sciences and its schools, their founding principles and traces their establishment and how they maintain their innovative character.

In 1987, Professor Benor was appointed head of the Recanati School for Health Professions and served in this post for 14 years, during which the school grew from a student body of 140 students and seven faculty members to a thousand enrollees and a staff of 72. The scope of its studies expanded during his tenure from two majors to three full departments: Nursing, Physiotherapy and Emergency Medicine (under the aegis of Paramedic Studies). He established a system for training teachers and conducting workshops in medical education for faculty throughout Israel's universities and elsewhere in the world.

These endeavors made Professor Benor a world authority, leading to roles in the establishment of new and innovative schools of medicine in Iran (before  Khomeini, in Fez and Madan), in Thailand (Chimbori) and Egypt (Ismailia), as well as consulting in the revitalization of established  medical schools in Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Canada and the United States.  Professor Benor also served on a host of international committees on education and training of medical personnel, curriculum-building and evaluation of medical schools, as well as Israel's Council for Higher Education's committees.

After his retirement, he devoted a good part of his time to writing, as well volunteering in the 'second chance' school in Ofakim for marginalized youth.


Aviva Segev - Administrative Director, Faculty of Health Sciences 1974-1999


Aviva Segev (Zelinger) was born in Haifa and moved with her parents to Tel Aviv at age five, where she grew up. She studied dance and violin and became the first violinist of the Tel Aviv Youth Orchestra.  Her brother Ruvein fell in the  war of independence (1948). After her marriage to Shlomo Segev, the couple and their two children moved to Beer Sheva in 1962. Shortly after their arrival, Aviva was appointed administrative director of Beer Sheva’s teacher’s seminary (today, the Kaye Academic College of Education) where she played an instrumental role in the institution’s development. 


In 1974 Ben-Gurion University’s director-general Mr. Israel Ben-Amitai invited Aviva Segev to join those establishing BGU’s new medical school and Faculty of Health Sciences. In June 1974 she joined the staff of the University, and in 1977 was appointed administrative director of the Faculty. In the framework of her position Aviva Segev participated in the establishment of other schools within the Faculty of Health Sciences, including the Medical School for International Health (in collaboration with Columbia University), the School of Nursing, the School of Physiotherapy, the School of Health Systems Management, the School of Medical Laboratory Sciences, and advanced degree programs for masters and doctoral programs in basic medical research and health sciences. 

Parallel to academic administration of the Faculty, Aviva was active in the administration of many volunteer initiatives in the community, including integration of the Faculty in these endeavors.  This included frameworks to combat substance abuse (the Al-Sam ‘Restart’ program where she was one of the founding members, and the Samim lo od or SELA project); a village for children at risk (HaOgen HaKhilati - ‘Community-based Anchor’); and Edy’s House (the Ma'agan Community Support Center for Cancer Patients and their Families) – the last, which she administered on a volunteer basis for eleven years. While Aviva Segev retired from her position as the Faculty’s administrative director in 1999, she continued to play a core role in volunteer work on behalf of the community.  In 2005 Aviva Segev was honored as a Key to the Beer Sheva City Notable (Yakir HaIr) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the city and the community.